There are many reasons that we hesitate to say no; some cultural, some psychological, some emotional. Saying yes makes us appear to be agreeable and can make us popular. In some situations, saying yes requires courage and faith. Saying no, on the other hand, seems to work against the flow of community or relationships. It can make us appear contrary, cranky, or even stubborn. To say no can seem downright un-Christian.
It is hard to say no to people and powers that seem so much bigger, stronger, and more important than we feel. Only with the powerful presence of God are we able boldly to say no when it really matters, for example to those who put us down, to peer pressure, to unreasonable demands, to prejudice and discrimination. Christ empowers us to be bold and answer with the same power and strength as the ancient apostles, the leaders of the Reformation, or the saints we have known personally.
And, sometimes, the boldest answer can be no!
This message is adapted from “Boldly Saying No” written by Donna Hacker Smith in the September 2005 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather) magazine.