Let your Yes be Yes, and your No be No

That Man, the one who told me to be as cunning as a serpent, as innocent as a dove…  He told me something else too.  Let your Yes be Yes, and your No be No, he said.

He said it to us all.  But I think we stopped listening halfway through.

Let your Yes be Yes, we heard.  And we said Yes, repeatedly and without discernment.  For we are good Christians, ministers no less.  We are there to serve the people, aren’t we?  So when they call, we say Yes and we come.  We drop other plans, lay them down as sacrifice at Master’s feet.

But we never ask which Master.

Do we serve God or do we serve the people?  I asked my Pastoral Leaders that this week.  When they got it, you could feel the tension rise in the room.  Because they saw that a Yes to the people wasn’t always the same as a Yes to God.

Let your Yes be Yes, he said.  But he said too, Let your No be No.

And I told them there that day that my Yes had already been said.  I have one Yes in me and I have decided to use it in service of the Amen to the Yes which is in Christ.

And now I have no other Yes.

I am a slave of that Man.  And if he says go, then I will go.  If my Amen to him means Yes to that person in front of me, then my Yes is sure.  My Yes will absolutely be a Yes.

But if he does not say go, then I will not go.  I will say No, though the little English girl inside is berating me for hardheartedness, is wondering what they’ll think, how they’ll judge.  She thinks, this little English girl, that perhaps she is the only one in all the world who could help them, that to say this No is mean and careless.

And she is wrong.

Because, in the end, it is simple.  The Yes she had, she gave away.  And that Yes was Yes, which meant holding nothing back.  No reserve for those others who come wanting.  No hidden supply of Yes, tucked away from the gaze of that Man.  All is his, nothing left.  For my Yes was Yes.  And now my No, a No to everything else which he does not command, that No must be a No.

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