But let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and ‘No’ mean ‘No.’
Matthew 5:37 (MEV)
I quoted this verse to my kids today. Then I was left staring off into space as a few things occurred to me.
I said something like, “God wants us to say yes, when we mean yes.” At the time, I was talking about being truthful. But before I go on a parenting tangent about speaking blessings into my children’s lives, or my thoughts on quoting biblical scripture to our kids…
Let me just stop and say it again, “God wants us to say yes, when we mean yes.”
And while my kids waited for me to make my point, I realized something, I usually think of this verse in two contexts:
- We speak the truth, and
- If we say we are going to do something, then we follow through and do it.
But there is something I’d been missing.
It’s that time of year again. The very best time of year, but also a very busy time of year with more than the usual amount of too-much-to-do. And there is a group of us who tend to say “yes” to everyone, even when on the inside we are screaming, “No! How will I ever have time to do that too!?” Or, sometimes in my case, “Ugh, I really, really do not want to do that, but what will this person think of me if I say no?”
God wants us to say yes, when we mean yes. Not say yes, when we are screaming no in our minds.
When I say yes too many times, especially when I didn’t mean to agree, I become overbooked, stressed out, and frustrated. And I turn into a really not fun person to be with; a scrooge. Just ask my kids.
Now don’t fall off the other side of the horse here! This is not our free pass to say “no” to everyone. Some of us (still me included), need to pray for a more willing heart. A daring prayer that God will help us step out of our comfort-zones and be the person He created us to be. Saying, “no” to everyone because you don’t really feel like doing something is not the answer.
So how do we find the balance?
As I am constantly telling my older son, “practice!”
Start with prayer. Pray for wisdom, for God’s heart, for understanding of yourself and others. Pray that you will be ok with feeling like you are letting someone down (because that’s how I tend to feel when I say no).
And then be practical: know your limits, know your commitments, know what is reasonable, and know where you need some “stretching.”
And finally be kind to yourself and others. People aren’t asking you to do things to be cruel. And you aren’t saying no to be cruel.
God wants us to say yes, when we mean yes. And to say no, when we mean no.
So, to recap. Go to Him first. Pray. And then practice. Practice with safe people. Practice with a ‘soft’ no. Don’t say a flat out, “No. Nope. Never going to do this. This is a terrible idea. I’m way too busy for this junk!”
Instead, try saying,
- “Thank you for asking me, but I can’t make that work in my schedule.”
- “I’m really grateful you thought of me, but this is not something I am interested in.”
Most of all be honest. Kindly honest.* And don’t give a ‘maybe’ answer unless you really mean maybe.
Anyways, if you will excuse me, I have to go apologize to my kids for being a scrooge, pray to my Good Father about what this season should really look like, clear up some time with my kids, and practice saying my ‘no’ when I mean it. And practice saying ‘yes’ when maybe I’m a little nervous to try something new. So, I have a pretty full plate for the rest of the day. Sorry to say, I gotta scoot!
May the Lord, who created you for a purpose, bring you the wisdom and strength to do the good things you were created for. And may He bless you to say yes, when you mean yes. In Jesus strong name! Amen!
*But, speaking the truth in love, we may grow up in all things into Him, who is the head, Christ Himself Ephesians 4:15 (MEV)