Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Please read Matthew 5:13-16 (NRSV) (The Message) out loud if possible.

As you read, consider these questions: What might God be saying to me in this passage? What jumps out at me? At the end of the reading, try to summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two before reading on.

My thoughts on this passage (Julie Benson):

I recently attended a National Guard ceremony for my partner who is deploying to Iraq. The service was sincere and tugged at the heartstrings of troops, families, friends, and community supporters. The band played high-spirited marches, the soldiers marched in with military precision, the chaplain fervently guided us in prayer, and the speakers didn’t allow their comments to drag on. Instead, they simply offered their gratitude, support, and encouragement to all who are immediately affected by this mission.

My heart was moved with a wide range of emotions including pride, love, devotion, compassion, concern, and frustration. Oh, but not just a balanced share of frustration. Frustration that rattled my soul. You see, these kind-hearted speakers repeatedly expressed that care and sustenance for family members is available through the unit and they highly encouraged families to join this network of support. Embedded into their passionate pleas, however, came bitter stings reminding me that my family doesn’t count in the eyes of the military. Moments later families were dismissed to share a final fifteen minute farewell. My partner and I witnessed holding, hugging, kissing, and tears — none of which we could share because we had to “be cool.” The beauty and pride of our day was tarnished by its own reality.

As I recounted my experience with God, I began seeing a parallel to our own Christian behavior. What if we lived in a country where we could not openly share the Gospel? What if there was a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy about Christ? Will others be able to see the light of Christ within us? Are we willing to make that a permanent display in our behaviors and attitudes? Jesus said, “Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit.” (Luke 12:35) We have the light of Christ within us in the midst of every trial, circumstance, and emotion.

We have been given the freedom to choose — will others need to ask us about our light, or can they see it clearly?

Thought for the Day: Recommit yourself to be a light for Christ every day, not just the easy days.

Today, let’s join together in prayer for: our own commitment to be a witness for Christ, especially the kind of witness that shines even when words aren’t spoken.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. Use the item above as a starting point, or consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.