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Monday, April 4, 2011

The Ability to Say "No"

I'm finding more and more often that I have a greater number of things in common with my dad than I think I would ever have cared to admit. The irony is that I want to say a few of them. For example, I thoroughly enjoy making up words and changing the words to songs I know and love. I make really lame jokes which I find incredibly humorous. But not all these similarities are great and dandy.

One of the pressing problems I am discovering I have: the inability to say "no" to others' requests. In the past week, I have edited two papers for colleagues/friends for various classes. Most people know I'm a stickler for grammar, spelling, and style. (By the way, I prefer the Oxford comma.) I also know many people really struggle with writing, which is not an easy thing. I have agreed to take some of my younger cousins to school for about two weeks, a job I had for a while last semester. I really have no problem doing people favors. Neither does my dad.

However, there comes a point at which it is ultimately better to say "no". Jesus frequently went off by himself to pray. There were times when he initially refused to fulfill someone's request. When James and John asked to sit at his right and left (Mark 10.35ff), Jesus did not grant it because he could not do so. Jesus knew his limits.

We all could learn to say "no" in that respect. This does not, however, mean we ought to refuse every offer ever given us; only those truly beyond us. I cannot say where this boundary lies for any give person, much less myself. But I can say I too often have said "yes" to the wrong things. It is never a bad idea to say "yes" to God and to say "no" to ourselves.

May God grant us the courage to constantly reply with a resounding "YES!" to him.

Grace and peace.

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