Why It's Okay to Say "No"

by Shayla Asselin


If ye love me, keep my commandments.

John 14:15


“You can say ‘no’ and still be a good person,” I thought. I was a nervous wreck. I couldn’t remember a time where I had ever told someone “no.” (If you know me, you know I tend to say “yes.” If I have the ability to do it, I’m going to tell you “yes.” It’s just who I am.)


I knew I had to say “no” though. It wasn’t a bad thing. In fact, it was a good thing that I would probably enjoy. I just couldn’t do it.


Not too long ago, my brother shared a page from a book he was reading and the author said something along these lines:

“Your interests, no matter how good or even spiritual they may be, can never come before your biblical responsibilities.”


That quote has impacted many decisions over the last few months. It’s forced me to prioritize my yeses.


In every area of our life, God lays out specific instructions for us to follow. As a Christian (1 Peter 4:10, Thessalonians 5:11, Galatians 6:2, James 5:16, ect.), employee (Colossians 3:22-4:1, ect.), woman (1 Timothy 2:9-15, Titus 2:3, ect.), wife (Titus 2;4-5, 1 Timothy 3:11, ect.), mother (Proverbs 31:10-31, ect.), and daughter (Ephesians 6:1-3, ect.) we can find our responsibilities in the Bible. Those responsibilities deserve our best yes.


Over the years, I’ve noticed that the more I say “yes”, the less likely I am to do my best. I like to say “yes.” But when I say “yes” to too many things, the quality of work tends to suffer and the attention to detail fades. By the time the project is finished, I’m stressed out and void of the joy that should come with being a blessing. Not to mention the biblical responsibilities that I either completed ignored or devoted very little attention to.


My grandpa used to remind me often of the scripture in 1 Samuel 15:22, “To obey is better than sacrifice.” Sadly, some (myself included) have sacrificed their biblical responsibilities for good intentions. It will not matter how much good we've done, if we have neglected to obey what God has instructed each of us to do in His Word. Extra-credit won’t get us into heaven if we’ve failed the test.


As a Christian, have I read the Bible and prayed today?

As an employee, have I committed myself to a standard of excellence today?

As a woman, have I walked with dignity, humility, and grace today?

As a wife, have I loved and cherished my husband today?

As a mother, have I trained and nurtured my children today?

As daughter, have I honored my parents today?


I know the above list is not a comprehensive list of duties, but it is a reminder that our biblical responsibilities must always come before our spiritual interests. Let us commit to prioritizing our lives, devoting ourselves to our biblical responsibilities, saying our best yes to His will.


Side note: please read https://www.pursuingvirtue.org/post/why-you-should-say-yes to see why I think we should say "yes!" Also, if you ever need me to do anything for you, please ask. I’ll still do my best to help. :)

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