The little parable of Jesus’ about the hogs and dogs, in Matthew 7:6, can be read as a context-less saying or a context-ual saying. “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; do not throw your margaritas [Greek word for “pearls”] before the hogs.” But what might this saying mean? Which view below do you agree with?
Some say it deals with not letting the unconverted to the Lord’s Supper.
Some say it slows down teaching esoteric Christian teaching to the unbelievers.
Some say it encourages evangelists not to spend too much time with the hard-of-heart.
Some say it is like Matt 10:5-6, and prevents the Gentile mission (during the life of Jesus).
Others, however, suggest it must be read in context. In which case it would balance the tendency for many to overdo the summons not to be judgmental in 7:1-5. While the follower of Jesus is expected to be thoroughly merciful, there are limits. And the hogs and dogs saying summons his followers to be discerning in the other direction.
I agree that 7:1-5 is about the need to tone down judgmentalism. I see no reason, and no natural interpretation, to interpret 7:6 alone this line. Instead, it is best to see here a parable about the need for the followers of Jesus to be discerning and wise (cf. Matt 10:16) in their engagement with others.
There is a time to show your cards; a time to fold them up and lay them on the table. The gospel is sacred work; Jesus’ followers are summoned to be wise in its dispensation. Here’s an example for me: when sectarians come to my house, I treat them with respect, and I engage them, but I have simply decided not to spend my time trying to persuade them of what they know I think. Unless I detect an opening, I simply keep my time short.