How To Say “No”?

How To Say “No”?

Sister Miki Terayama - 24 January 2021

Weekend Devotion: How To Say "No"?

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How do I say no? One of the most common question I asked when I was a young believer or when I am faced with the worldly influences is how to say “no” as my faith convicts me. I mean, I know that my Holy Spirit convicts me that it is something against my faith or it does not please the Lord, but how do I say “no” in a practical setting? It is always easy to agree and be on the pleasant side of things. Like when someone makes a suggestion and we agree, it pleases the person. When a vote is called for and you go with the majority’s wagon or play a neutral part, these are all easier and the more widely acceptable responses. We do not want to offend or put off the other party, especially if they are a close family member, our good friend or our superior at work. But the Lord calls us to set apart and consecrate not only within our hearts and minds, but in our responses and actions, as well. So, when an invitation comes for us to do participate in something that is contradictory to our faith or we know will build up our flesh desires, how do we say no?

A spiritually convicted “no”

I think the first thing we have to go back to, is to know why should we reject in response? When we are truly affirmed within our spirits the need to say “no”, then will we be able to have conviction in our choice. If not, all we need is more nudging and convincing, and we might waver or let things sit on the fence. So this comes by offering up the circumstance or the choice to the counsel of the Lord and it should come with testing and affirming it through God’s Word. How does God see this? Would I be glorifying Him if I participated in this? Will my spirit still be reliant on God or would I become more self-driven if I take up this offer? Now, after going through it with the Truth, we then need to develop a “Holy Anger” or resistance towards the matter, because we know how detrimental it is to our faith, our heart to submit and be blameless before God. Ephesians 4:26-27 says, ”Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.” Now it is important to note that this Holy Anger is not towards the person or the circumstance, but  like the verse has said, it is the wrath towards the works of Satan that is working in the background to deceive and influence us away from a life that goes after the Lord. This is also the part where we expose the plans of Satan in our lives. So we really need to “investigate” and dig deeper into why our spirit convicts us to say “No”, so that we will experience the joy of saying “Yes” to God instead.

Then, we will move into the practical steps.

Be consistent in the Word and prayers.

Now again, rejecting or having a differing opinion is always harder than just agreeing. That is why, the way we approach our response of “no” is important and we really need the wisdom from the Holy Spirit to speak or react. We do not necessarily need to respond with a “yes” or “no” right away, but seek the right advice first. This comes from being consistently immersed in learning about God’s word and prayers to seek after His perspective in all things. Proverbs 4:20-23 says, “My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” When we keep inclining ourselves to the Lord’s truth, we will be very clear of our priorities in life as a child of God. It is not just about striving up the career ladder, having a big group of friends, posting captions that please the general crowd or getting a certain number of likes on our socials. There was a period of time where I was also having resistance in myself to post spiritual content on my Instagram because those post usually get lesser “likes” than when I post adorable pictures of my kids. So I curated my feed in a way that gains me the “likes” I wanted. But as I started to be more discerning through the messages I hear and the quiet time I have with the Lord, I knew I certainly was not glorifying God and I did not feel the peace and assurance when I continue to post such stuff because I was putting all the glory on my own life, my kids and the aesthetics of it all. So when we keep our hearts and minds inclined to God, to His leading, we will naturally have the “spiritual reflex” to act wisely in ways that please the Lord.

Affirm our choice with gentleness. Do not be ambiguous.

So, onto the actual scenario of the matter. If we are presented with an option or invitation that we should reject after testing and approving with the Holy Spirit, how should we respond? I think there could be a million kinds of situations and characters of people we are facing, so there is no “template” way to respond. But we do have to keep in mind two things: How we present our “no” and do not end the response ambiguously. Firstly, the word of God has already told us in Colossians 4:6 “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” So we must be careful not to carry harshness or arrogance when we speak out. Acknowledge the matter and with gentleness, explain your reasons of rejecting should you need to clarify.
Then, make sure your answer is clear. Do not be in the grey zone because that is where Satan likes to lurk, in ambiguity. ” If the other party or situation is seeking a “Yes” or “No” response, be clear about where your stand lies. Like how we reject offering joss-sticks when our relatives ask us to, not making plans on a Sunday morning for brunch when all your friends are requesting for it because you have church service. Remember that we are doing all this starting  in the place of love. Our love for God and for the people around us. We do not want to be straddling on our choices, but be clear about our faith because that is how we testify for the Lord to those around us and in time, drawing them to the God we clearly believe in and is guided by.

Use a different way to convey your “No”.

If the other party is more aggressive or persuasive, you could maybe change the way you communicate. Like maybe get back to the person later and respond in channels that allow you to pause and think through, like text messages, emails or even writing a letter, instead of face to face conversations or calls. It also allows you more time to make your stand clear, yet with thoughtful consideration, instead of a stammered response.

Present another option.

Now of course, there may be situations that you reject but do not want to end off as just being a “no” man. So as long as it does not compromise your faith, you could suggest an alternate option. For example, your friends want to make plans on Sunday morning to hang out but you have church service. You can then suggest another timing or date, instead of merely rejecting. As we are also reflecting the image of God, we should also live out our lives with wisdom, love and consideration, being a good testimony for the people we are surrounded by. Should we always reject and just leave it at that, even though we are convicted by the spirit to do so, we are also stumbling people from seeing the goodness of the Lord as well. So be genuine, considerate but make your stand firm.

Remember what matters.

Now after we have said “no”, we might be faced with a situation where we start to worry or have doubts. Like “How will the person feel about me now? Have I offended him/her? Did I say something wrong?” You might feel disheartened and might be tempted to react in people-pleasing ways again. That is when after giving our spiritually convicted “no”, we have to remember what matters. Our purpose and identity is not ultimately based on what people think about us, but how God sees us and calls us to do in obedience. As 1 Thessalonians 2:4 says, “But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.” That peace and joy from our submission to Him surpasses that of men’s temporal approval or worldly gains.

Now brothers and sisters, if we are truly equipped with the truth and is affirmed of what we are convicted in the spirit, may we not be anxious or unsure of testifying for the Lord through our “no”s, but let it be an avenue for us to deepen our faithfulness to God, and grow love or wisdom in the way we interact with the people or situations around us. God bless.

Miki Terayama

Miki is a full-time ministry staff at The Blessed Run Ministries. She is a sister who shares a natural, God-given affinity with children and youths. She is married to Randy (NET Group Youth Leader) and has two little ones of her own, Liora and Jude. She is involved in the children, youth and social media ministries.

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