Don't wrestle with pigs... or pitbulls

Sage advice. Who would want to wrestle with pigs? Possibly this axiom is little different from the old proverb, “Cast not your pearls before swine.”

Isn't that just what we do when we fire back at someone who has hurt our feelings?

It isn't worth the fight, is it, for believers to jab and stab at every opportunity. I have heard some folks wax on proudly that they have some great debating skills like being macho with words is something to be proud of. Well, in my book it isn't. How does that edify the body?

Years ago before Facebook when discussion boards and chat rooms were all the rage, I'd see good folks who proclaimed Christ get into some nasty sword fights, get all bloody and bruised over some fine point of Scripture. What was the good of that?

I have also seen some people back out of a discussion simply because they hate conflict even though a person's soul was at stake! How does that reflect God's glory and bring more to Him?

Today there is condemnation and judgment without hard evidence. What happened to our mandate that a person is innocent until proven guilty?

Peter stood outside the Temple and stretched out his hand to a 40-year old man crippled since birth. (Acts 3). Several miracles happened.

The man took Peter's hand and leaped to his feet in sheer joy of the miracle. He danced into the Temple praising God. What toddler knows how to dance and walk without falling down? This man's miracle included immediate knowledge of how to not only walk, but leap. Astounding!

Daily, the man was laid down at the gate called Beautiful so that he could beg alms. How many times did Jesus pass by this man? Look at him? How many times did the disciples pass him by as they pressed close to Jesus hanging on His very words?

Jesus walked by a funeral procession, took the dead man's hand and raised him back to life. Jesus walked by the pool of Bethsaida and healed a lame man. You have to wonder, why did He pass by this particular lame man? Until we read this story in Acts – and read further.

All of Jerusalem was abuzz with this miracle. Evidently, everyone knew this man whom the mysterious They laid at the gate. Other They passed him daily as they went into their prayers, perhaps, even gave him alms.

There in the Temple Peter confronted the people gathered around because of the miracle with their sin of crucifying the innocent and asking for the release of a murderer. Peter, who once denied Christ with a curse, now proclaimed Him as the source of all power.

Annas and Caiaphas, terrified of losing their power over the Jews, ordered Peter and the other Apostles to be silent and not do anymore miracles. But Peter spoke boldly this day and confronted the High Priest Annas with his sin. Very bold speak from a former denier of Jesus. Peter pointed toward the source of power that made the lame man whole, and at the same time proclaimed in no uncertain terms that salvation came only through Jesus. How dare he?

There is a huge difference between what Peter did and what others who wield the Sword of God, the Holy Bible, as an attack weapon stabbing and jabbing other believers of the Word.

Peter just stated plain facts. Powerful facts, but bald truth and stepped back personally so that the Holy Spirit could convict of sin as Jesus explained in John 14 as one of the Spirit's works . Peter was the vessel from whom God poured truth.

People who slice and dice their siblings in Christ use condemnation and judgment and contempt and disrespect.

Let's remember: A calm voice has the ability to silence the loudest shout simply because of its softness and its content. My kids would be screaming in the bathtub and I would go in talking softly in a mild voice or even a whisper and they would instantly hush because they wanted to hear what I was saying.

Of course, content was important, too. If I was just saying, "Hush, now. It's all right." They'd instantly begin their screaming all over again. But, if I started talking about a snack waiting for them at the table or a storybook I wanted to read them or some other child-interesting tidbit, they would hurriedly finish their purpose in the bath, all fusses with the other forgotten.

Sad, isn't it, that adults can't be distracted so easily. I find that adults have a tenacity of purpose when they are breathing anger and murder on their way down that road to Damascus. They neither veer to the right or to the left and the puffs of fire-tinged smoke rise about them, so cloudy sometimes that I cannot fathom what they are saying. In fact, the smoke created is so dense I doubt they can see what they are saying.

Therefore, I'm changing the sage advice to "Don't wrestle with pigs, or with bull dogs. You'll get muddy and rabid." Let the Holy Spirit convict. Temper truth with kindness, gentleness, patience, faith, love, mercy, and self-control for these are the fruit of the Spirit and will produce peace and joy within the body of Christ.