January 21, 2010

Just Say No

Written by Boyd Bailey

Just Say No… “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” Matthew 5:37

Is it hard for you to say “no”? No to opportunities? No to temptation? No to a child? No to your spouse? No to good things? No to bad things? As a leader your “no’s” are probably more important than your “yes’s”. When you muster the courage to resist an idea that is off mission and instill the discipline in your team to stay focused on the task at hand, you lead with courage. The power of saying “no” makes your “yes’s” more believable.

How can a man or woman’s leadership be effective if they say yes to everything? Is a spontaneous “yes” nearly as useful as a measured “no”? Instead of making a rash promise you later regret, why not wait and prayerfully think through the resources required to deliver on your commitment? Short-term appeasement dilutes long-term sustainability.

Yes, you do risk rejection when you say no, but overtime the wisdom of your decision will become more evident. For example, resist taking on debt for a major purchase like a wedding, a car, a vacation or an appliance. Instead, save up your cash, and look for deals and creative alternatives in the meantime. Why saddle yourself with the stress of paying for something you can’t afford now, so that you can peacefully enjoy it credit free in the future?

Moreover, you may not have a peace about a particular career opportunity. There are too many unknowns and those who know you best are tentative. Perhaps you prayerfully say no now and trust the Lord to provide an open door that aligns with His will later. Do not decide out of frustration or in the middle of fatigue. Instead, rest, gather a clear head and see what your heart has to say. Default to “no” until you “know”.

“Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name” (Psalm 86:11).

As a leader at home and at work, be more focused on saying no than yes. Tough love often defines reality by saying no. But make sure to express your denial with grace. When you communicate bad news in the spirit of Jesus it can become good news to the recipient.

This is how His enemies described Him, “”Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth” (Luke 20:11).

Do I have the courage to trust Christ and say no even when it is offensive? How can I learn to say no more often with patience and grace?

Related Readings: Proverbs 3:5-6; Proverbs 16:13; Romans 9:1; Ephesians 4:15

Transformational Living
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