By Grant Phillips
I do believe that the hardest word in the English language to say is, "No." I am not speaking of correctly pronouncing the word. It's very simple to pronounce. Just place your tongue at the roof of your mouth, grab an "N" and come down with an "O." When you're finished, you lips will have formed the word "No."
My reference to the usage of the word "No" is the inability of many to use this word as a response to others or even self.
Are you one of those who have little time for yourself because you're running everyone else's errands? If you're helping those who cannot help themselves, then you are to be commended, but what about those who choose to sit on their ever widening posterior and use you to do what they could do for themselves? I know some who allow family members, for example, to simply use them, because they just can't say the word "No."
I have even seen church members who are worked to death, because they just can't say "No."
Elaine works long hours every day at a grinding job. Yet when she comes home it doesn't stop there. There is a house to clean, dinner to prepare, and a sack of potatoes snoring in the recliner commonly called a "husband." In addition, there are three little rug rats who demand constant attention.
Joe also works long hours every day for a boss that is a jerk. When he arrives home at his castle, there are outside chores that must be done, and a soap opera buff lying on the couch among potato chips and cookies and no dinner prepared. His offspring are each clamoring for a ride to soccer and cheerleading practice.
Pastor Bob and his lovely wife Beth spend many hours taking care of menial church chores at the little church out in the country. While he works on the roof, Beth is cleaning inside. In addition to their secular jobs, they teach Sunday School, visit the sick and just do whatever is needed. Their congregation wonders why they seem so tired on Sunday mornings.
Lazy people often sit on their gluteus maximus and have others, whether it be family members or friends, run their errands and wait on them hand and foot. Again, I'm not referring to those who cannot help themselves, perhaps for health reasons for example. I am referring to those folk who are healthy and have the means to take care of their own responsibilities, but are just too cotton-pickin' lazy to do so.
If you are one of the suckers who just can't say "No," then who is to blame for your quandary? You are.
I realize that the Lord expects us to put others first, but does He expect us to be doormats for lazy people? I don't think so. The following verses come to mind:
"10Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: "Those unwilling to work will not get to eat."11Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people's business.12We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living.13As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good.14Take note of those who refuse to obey what we say in this letter. Stay away from them so they will be ashamed.15Don't think of them as enemies, but warn them as you would a brother or sister." (2 Thessalonians 3:10-15 NLT)
I have listened to many people complain about how busy they are and how little time they have for themselves. More often than not, the reason lies in that person allowing others to dictate their time.
School sports activities are one of the worst culprits I am aware of in our day. I know many parents who are constantly on the run because the school and/or coaches dictate how their lives are to be spent. Many parents today don't have a week-end to themselves because of sports activities. Even Sundays are now being taken up with outside activities dictated by others. Vacations are set aside because of practice or games. When will parents wake up and simply say "No?"
Everyone needs time for themselves and time to be with their family in a family atmosphere. It's no wonder many families live in the same house but don't really know each other. Christians need time to spend with God, just the two of them, but this time is being taken up by others.
If you are one of those people who know you need to say "No" at times, why don't you? Is it because you think you might offend someone? Think about this. They don't mind offending you by hogging all your time. Maybe they don't realize they are consuming your time. Is it possible to say "No" and not be offensive? Well, of course it is. We don't have to be offensive to simply decline, when our time could be better spent with the Lord, our family, or other needs that are more important. One need that comes to mind is "rest." God expects us to rest, but if we can't say "No" how are we going to get any rest? Our bodies need rest, and so do our minds. Our spirits need to rest in the Lord. Are they resting?
If you are helping the helpless, God will provide you rest within your spirit, but if you are allowing lazy people to consume your time needlessly, just say "No."
Perhaps the hardest person to say "No" to would be the one we see in the mirror every morning. Wow, could we ever go the gamut with this? How many times have we metaphorically kicked ourselves for not saying "No" to the one standing in our shoes?
I am reminded of all those New Year's resolutions that seem to quickly fall apart after January 1st.
What about all those sins we commit? All we have to do is say "No," but alas, there we go again.
Could it be that we are more prone to say "Yes" because when we do so our face smiles, and if we say "No" we have a frown? A smile lifts our spirits as opposed to that ole frown. However, a "Yes" at the wrong time will produce a frown later on, because we knew we should have just said "No" in the first place.