Can You Say No?

  At a Japanese program, the speaker talked about the high incidence of suicide among his people.  Of course in their culture, unlike ours, suicide can be considered the honorable thing to do.  Nevertheless, he cited the fact that the Japanese, "can't say no".  They are taught to defer to one another, have patience, and not express their feelings.
  Interesting.  Don't we sometimes see saying yes to something as the "Christian" thing to do?  I know that I have sometimes said yes to something I really wanted to say no to, but thought it was the right thing to do.  In fact, sometimes it is.  But sometimes, the right thing to do is say no, regardless of the outcome. 
  For some, saying no is too difficult because they are afraid of rejection.  This possibility is very real.  At the church I was saved in, a woman once assumed that I would have games for "my" Sunday school class after a fellowship meal.  The class was, in fact, not my class.  I was only a substitute.  But the teacher was grossly irresponsible.  It wasn't unusual for him not to show up on a Sunday morning with no notice and leave me holding the bag.  That situation made me very uncomfortable and it is not one that I would put up with at this point in my life.  I guess because I was the responsible one, she thought I would just do this, too.  Well, she was wrong.I refused.  She was so angry with me that she turned her back on me, walked away, and wouldn't talk to me.  I don't remember who took care of the games, and frankly, I don't care.
  Here is my philosophy - If I am going to lose someone's friendship over saying no, then they really weren't my friend in the first place.  No loss.  If they're just going to get angry, well they are trying to control me with their anger and they'll get over it.
  This one, though, is the one that catches me.  Sometimes I say yes to something I really don't want to do because I feel I "should".  I was just put into one of those situations this weekend.  I finally said no and all turned out fine, but it was hard to do.
  Lastly, sometimes we want to say no, but God requires a yes.  I have tried to quit Children's Church on more than one occassion, but the Lord won't let me.  Fortunately, this is something I only have to do roughly four times a year.  When I do, it takes all the grace I can muster to do it with a right spirit.
  Honestly, one of the things I like most about myself is that I can say no.  Try it sometime.  It won't kill you!  Come to think of it, it may save your life.


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