That ugly word, "no"....



Monday, November 20, 2017

We had some drama in our home tonight when I used a word that the boys do not appreciate…..“No”. I am finding myself saying it more and more as they ask for iPhones, iPads, motorcycles, pocket knives, fireworks, video games, etc, etc.   It was so much easier when I told parents the importance of telling their kids, “No”, but it’s a different matter having to do it yourself to your own kids—-and doing it all the time!

The truth is, these boys would really  love me more if said “yes” a lot more—-and I would not feel like such a Scrooge all the time.  We would have a lot less drama, tears, pouting and attempts to transfer “guilt” to the head of the household (me) for being so “mean” (that’s what the youngest calls me when I won’t get him food at McDonald’s or another stuffed animal).

Of course I know at least two things about all of this. One, it’s not a matter of them loving me, but of me loving them and doing what love requires me to do to help them and protect them. And so I must say “no” to the things that they do not need and will not help them. Secondly I know the danger of living for the approval of men—-or boys. Some of the greatest men and women that ever lived had their walk with Christ compromised or destroyed because they feel into the trap of not wanting to disappoint anyone or hurt someone’s feelings by doing the right thing and saying NO. King Saul was afraid of the approval of his men, so he allowed them to keep some of the plunder after battle, rather than give it all to God—-he failed the test and lost his crown.  Peter was more concerned about the consequences of admitting that he knew Jesus so he denied Christ—-three times in public—-and wept bitterly for not saying “no” to his fear.

In my Christian walk, “Yes” is easy to justify in my mind, but represents a lack of courage and character. “No” takes fortitude and often leaves me lonely and unliked.… but I sleep better.

To go forward with these boys and not give in and tell them “yes” each time they get tears in their eyes, I try to remind myself that God treats me just like I should be handling these boys. He does not always answer my prayers in the affirmative. Nonetheless, I must never give them a rock when they ask for a piece of bread, but also be prepared to tell them (as He tells me), “no”, “not yet”……and sometimes, “I can’t believe you’re even asking me that”!




Dean Barley


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