Don’t Say No if You Mean Yes

Through shyness, childhood training, or an overdeveloped desire not to impose or be a bother, many of us often say ‘No’ when we mean ‘Yes.’ As a child I was a natural alto; the notes just came to me. One Christmas I was asked, begged to sing in a quartet. I longed to do it, but steadfastly and irrationally said ‘No.’ I needed someone to teach me not to say ‘No’ when I meant ‘Yes.’

“Don’t Say No If You Mean Yes” is a watchword at our house. It is a lesson we seem to have mastered pretty well, though we have said it often to young guests who sometimes demurred to be polite.

Again, the caution: If it’s wrong, or doubtful, say ‘No!’ and make it stick, even if strongly tugged toward ‘Yes.’ But when worthy opportunity knocks, DON’T SAY NO IF YOU MEAN YES!

One Reply to “Don’t Say No if You Mean Yes”

  1. I don’t know about you, but as someone influenced by our self-sufficient culture, this one’s a real problem for me, and I’ve noticed that I’m not alone. When offered something, if we’re tempted to say, “I don’t want to impose” or “No thank you,” we need to ask ourselves the following questions:
    1) Would accepting this give me the opportunity to spend time with the giver and build up a friendship?
    2) Would the person making the offer be serving the Lord?
    3) Would I say “no” simply because I’m too proud to receive a gift?
    4) Am I fostering a spirit of self-sufficiency?

    Here are some verses that come to mind:
    Mark 9:41 For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.

    Philippians 4:17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.

    Hebrews 10:25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

    And what would Jesus do, given the opportunity you’re being offered?
    Matthew 11:19 — The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.” Jesus cared more about the people he came to serve–or sometimes be served BY–than his own reputation (as measured by questionable cultural values like self-sufficiency!).

Comments? Examples of this saying in action? (your contribution will appear after being approved)