It’s perfectly OK to say no when someone asks you for something or to do something for them. So many times people say yes with reluctance when they should be saying no. Is this true of yourself? Do you often say yes when you mean no? Why do you think you do that?
Saying ‘no’ is not popular. People may think you don’t really want to help them. They may think you’re old-fashioned or ‘square’ as we said in the hippie days. They may accuse you of thinking only of yourself. Nobody wants to appear as ‘the bad guy’ or ‘the too-strict parent’ or the ‘you’re no fun’ person — these are the things people often say and think when you return a simple, ‘no’ to their request.
First, let me say it’s perfectly acceptable to say no. You don’t need to provide a long excuse or reason behind your answer. You have free will to say no and, unless someone is asking you to fulfill a legitimate obligation, no explanation is necessary. The problem comes with feelings of guilt for saying no.
There are at least three things to think about when answering a ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ The first is God’s will in the situation. Next, consider your own opinion about whatever it is you’re being asked to do. The third is to weigh the impact on the person who is asking.
Consider God’s Will in the Situation
The first thing to consider is of course God’s will in the situation. There’s a section in James that explains why God sometimes says no when we ask him for something.
James 4:13-17 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.
If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.
Seeking God’s will is the first thing you need to do in any situation. When someone asks you for something, ask God what his will is before answering.
Do you Want to Do Whatever it is You Were Asked?
Once you’ve determined that the request is within God’s will, consider how you feel about being the one to say ‘yes.’ God gives you the free will to decide on your own. A person could ask me for $50 to do something completely within God’s will, but that doesn’t mean I’m the one that has to supply the money, or that the person needs to do whatever it is now.
If you’re fine with doing or supplying whatever it was that was asked, then a yes is a definite possibility. You won’t feel guilty for saying yes because the decision rests well with you. But consider the other person as well.
Is a Yes Best for the Person who Asked?
What are the implications for the other person? Will helping them or allowing them to do whatever it is they ask going to help them or hurt them? Are they using you as a crutch so they can continue making bad decisions or will they benefit from your help or your decision?
There are times you may want to say yes but it’s not best for the person asking. People have to learn to be responsible for themselves and not to lean on others. We want to help people get to the point where they are able to help others and not depend on getting help from others to survive.
God Often Says No
Here’s why God often says no to our requests:
James 4:3 You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it upon your lusts.
Consider what God’s will is when you ask God for things. Consider what God’s will is when other people ask you for things. Is saying ‘yes’ going to help them grow in Christ or, instead, help them continue their bad habits or irresponsibility? Compassion is at the heart of the Christian, but compassion does what the other person needs, not necessarily what the other person says he or she wants.
How to Say No
Matthew 5:37 Instead, let your message be ‘Yes’ for ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ for ‘No.’ Anything more than that comes from the evil one.”
Jesus said it’s ok to say yes or no, and that it’s your choice. Consider where you stand and consider what’s best for the other person and then simply answer, “yes” or “no.”
Guilt-Free Strategies for Saying ‘No’
I found a good article on how to say no that you might find of value. For the full article, visit http://www.realsimple.com/10-guilt-free-strategies-for-saying-no. I’ve excerpted several examples below.
Saying No for the Sake of Your Wallet
Request: A friend in need asks for a Trump-worthy loan.
What you should say: “I wish I could, but as a rule, I don’t lend money to friends.”
Why it works: It’s clear that you are not singling out this person as untrustworthy.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: Lending any amount of money can cause problems, says communications trainer Don Gabor. “It can change the nature of your relationship if the person doesn’t pay you back.”
How to avoid the situation in the future: Never lend money to friends and you won’t get a reputation as a walking, breathing ATM.
Saying No for the Sake of Your Time
Request: You are offered a promotion that you don’t want. Even though it means more money, it demands more hours and more of what your boss calls responsibility and you call tedium.
What you should say: “I’m flattered that you want me, but for personal reasons I’m not in a situation where I can take this on. Perhaps in a year from now things will be different. Can we talk again if my circumstances change?”
Why it works: If you’re caught in this enviable dilemma, your boss will understand you have personal priorities that take precedence.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: By saying no to more time at the office, you’re saying yes to other things you cherish, be they long walks alone at sunset or evening time with your children.
How to avoid the situation in the future: “If a position opens up at your workplace, you could let it be known that you are not in the running,” Breitman suggests. Being forthright saves your manager the trouble of pursuing a candidate who isn’t interested.
Saying No for the Sake of Your Sanity
Request: A guest offers to bring her seven-layer dip to your party. It doesn’t really go with the Greek theme you have planned.
What you should say: “What a kind offer―thank you. I have already planned the menu, but do you have any dietary restrictions I should know about?” If she’s just asking to be nice and insists on bringing something, suggest a bottle of wine or a loaf of bread.
Why it works: By acknowledging the generosity of the offer, you let that person know she did all she could. Of course, if the person has dietary restrictions that make cooking difficult for you, relent and let her bring a dish she can eat.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: The person is most likely offering just to be courteous. By saying no, you give her license to relax and enjoy your hospitality.
How to avoid the situation in the future: When you invite people, ask if there is anything they don’t eat, because you want to make sure your menu works for everyone. Emphasize the word menu, so people know that you have a plan or a theme for the meal (and so they won’t try to upset it).
Next time you want to say yes but don’t feel good about for either your own sake or the person who is asking, go ahead and say no. It’s OK.