Did Jesus ever contradict Himself? Matthew 6:2 says, "So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men." Jesus then goes on to say in verse 4, "So that your giving may be in secret."
In this passage Jesus seems to be telling us not to boast or brag about good things we do. It even seems as if He is saying to not only refrain from boasting, but not to even let people know that you did something good.
Is this true? Are we to never speak of anything good we've done? If that is the case, questions remain about such things as sharing testimonies to uplift, strengthen, and encourage the body of Christ, or even to be used as a witness to the lost. Surely, that is not what Jesus meant.
Jesus also said in Matthew 5:16, "In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
Come on, Jesus, which one is it? Are my good deeds to be seen or hidden?
The answer is yes. Some are to be hidden; some are to be seen. As wonderful as it is to do good deeds, our motivation from which we do them is also very important. In Matthew 6:1 Jesus says, "Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them."
I believe the point Jesus is making here is not about others knowing of our good deeds, rather about why we want them to known. He goes on to say that if our motive is to be seen by men, there will be no reward from our Father. On the other hand, looking back at Matthew 5:16, Jesus says, "Let your light shine before men THAT they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
In this passage, He's telling us to shine to others around us with our good deeds. Therefore, we can conclude that the problem is not with other people ever knowing about our good deeds. It all rests upon our motivation.
In one passage He warns us not to do it to be seen by men. In the other passage He encourages us to let our deeds be seen by men with the motivation that God, our Father, would be praised.
So, what we do is important. Why we do it, according to Jesus in these passages, seems to be equally important.
Today, let your light shine with the love of Christ on display, in humility, so that your Father in heaven might receive the praise He deserves.