“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

Matthew 7:1-6

The work of the believer is a precious thing. We set aside ourselves and our efforts as an offering to God, and in doing so we declare them holy. Indeed, that’s what holy means, to be set apart for God’s service. If we are to be holy then, how can we take those offerings and put them before an ungrateful world and expect to get back praise? What is dedicated to God cannot be also given to the World.

But more than that, we aren’t to engage with worldly people in Spiritual work as equals. Being holy, set apart, means that our work must necessarily be divided out from their works.

As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children—open wide your hearts also. Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will live with them
    and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.”

2 Corinthians 6:13-16

This does not mean, as some have perverted it to be, that Christians are not to marry nonbelievers. Paul writes advising such marriages elsewhere. This also does not mean that in earthly things, Christians are only to deal with Christians; we have to be good neighbors to nonbelievers.

What he is saying in the context of the passage is similar to Jesus message above; a Christian can’t drag the same load as a nonbeliever because we aren’t working toward the same Spiritual goal. If we try to hitch ourselves to the wicked workers of the world in the hopes of achieving God’s plans, we will fail. God has set us apart to do his Spiritual work.

If the world loves us for doing good to them, we continue. But if the world hates us for doing good to others, we must still continue.

Finally, we reflect on what Jesus said at first in our passage. We are not to judge our fellow believers as we work together. The world may bite and trample us for doing good but we cannot allow the same treatment for one another. Remain holy, pray for one another and select your partners in Spiritual work with care.

Ethan Kirl