There are many needs we’re called to meet. And occasionally we try to meet every need that comes our way. But sometimes the best gift we can give to others and to ourselves is the gift of No.
Perhaps it seems selfish to decline an honest request for help.
Are we not called to bear each other’s burdens? How can we then say No?
But saying No is not because we’re lazy and just don’t feel like helping. Nor does it mean we don’t care or want the best for the other.
A good No is also wise – discerning true needs and our deepest loyalties.
For example, when our kid wants dessert for every meal, we rightly say No because this is not in his best long-term interest.
While it’s often harder to discern in other relationships, it’s still important to distinguish between what another wants and what they actually need.
However, even when there is a true need, this still might not be our best Yes.
There are some roles which are uniquely ours – being husband to our wife and father to our children, for example. And God has also given us each a work that is ours alone.
Saying No to others is so we can say Yes to the roles and work God has given us. It’s choosing faithfulness to God over the wants and even legitimate needs of others.
Our No is to honor our deeper Yes to God.
And in the end, this is a most gracious gift.
We’re able to fully give ourselves to what God has called us to. And we remain free to love the other without resentment taking root from a bad No.
Practice offering the gift of No. It has benefits for all.