And the pig, though it has a divided hoof, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.
- Leviticus 11:7-8
When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”
Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”
He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.
- Matthew 8:28-34
“There is an old story that tells about a pig. … The farmer brought the pig into the house. He gave him a bath, polished his hooves, put some Chanel No. 5 on him, put a ribbon around his neck, and put him in the living room. The pig looked fine. He made a nice and companionable pet for a few minutes. But as soon as the door was opened, the pig left the living room and jumped into the first mud puddle that he could find. Why? Because he was still a pig at heart. His nature had not been changed. He had changed outwardly, but not inwardly. … You can take a man – dress him up, put him in the front row in church, and he almost looks like a saint. He may fool even his best friends for a while, but then put him in his office, or the club on Saturday night, and you will see his true nature come out again. Why does he act that way? Because his true nature has not been changed. He has not been born again.”
- Billy Graham, Day by Day with Billy Graham (October 27)
First of all, the title and the photo need to be explained. For those who do not know the phrase, “When pigs fly,” the phrase means that the chances of success in whatever is being discussed is slim to none. Or when told to do something, and that is your response, you are refusing to do it. In the photo, both the necktie and the socks are entitled, “When Pigs Fly.” If you cannot read the necktie, the pig pilot in the foreground is cursing (random characters in his bubble), but over the radio, you hear the pig pilot behind the enemy say, “I’m on him, Porky, and his bacon is cooked!!”
Okay, with that out of the way, I am really not associating any of the definitions of “When Pigs Fly” to Billy Graham’s story or to the Scripture. In Billy Graham’s story, the pig’s nature did not change, although the outer appearance changed drastically. In the demon possessed pigs, the pigs showed that they could indeed become demon possessed, but I doubt if that stretches to becoming a godly pig on the other end of the spectrum. You might think that a pig becoming a well-groomed pet might be out of his nature, just as pigs flying might not fit the modern knowledge of the nature of pigs, but when Balaam’s donkey (ass, in the KJV) speaks to Balaam (Numbers 22:30), no one thought that donkeys could talk – that is until the Shrek movies and we cannot get them to be quiet now – in Shrek movies.
My point is that if God wanted the pig, regardless of its nature, to become a house pet, it would happen. It is not the natural way, however.
But it seems to be the unrepentant man’s way. That part of Billy Graham’s story rings true throughout. The more that the man, who never had Jesus in his heart, sits in the pew, the more convinced the man will be that he is the saint that he almost appears to be. Even though he is a royal pain at work, at home, and anywhere else he thinks that he can get away with being a jerk. Yet, the last portion of C. S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity talks about the difference in being a Christian and being a “nice” person, in that some people who come to Christ have a much harder road to take considering full sanctification. There could be other people who on the surface are the epitome of what people think a Christian should be, but they never accepted Jesus into their hearts.
We all have our moments when we have our loved ones wonder if our conversion to Christianity has slipped away or may have been non-existent from the start, but those who do not show any signs of any fruits of the Spirit, you must wonder if their testimony is true, if they even have one.
Yet, all we can do to help them understand is to continue telling our story. It is up to God to direct us in the right direction and direct the people God has prepared to hear our story to us.
I have always felt like I was heading toward being that man who appeared to be a saint on the front pew – although I prefer in the middle. Nice on the outside, but empty inside. This story of the pet pig hit home, but for the Grace of God convicting me of my sins 51 years ago, that empty shell of a man could have been me.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.