Wrestling with “No”



Is it ever okay to say, “No?” It’s the holiday season and we are bombarded with advertisements telling us about “things” we must have. Yes, I know it’s okay to say “no” to kids and random wants, but I’m wrestling with “no” on a bigger context. I’m wrestling with it on a “What would Jesus do” level. Jesus continually tells us to provide for the poor. He said, “What you do for the least of these, you do for Me (Matthew 25).”

So here’s the deal, is it okay to say “no” to putting a roof over someone’s head? This is an honest question. I don’t have the answer. We recently said “no” to having two family members, that I care about deeply, move in indefinitely. I justify the decision because I don’t want my kids exposed to the fighting that comes with them. Is that acceptable? Is that just an excuse? No, is the easy answer. Jesus calls us to do hard things. How do I know if I’m turning my back on something Jesus is calling me to?

We have just spent time together as a family giving thanks for the many blessings we have. We have a healthy family, good jobs, a roof over our heads and so much more. Do I get to pick and choose where and how I share those blessings with others, or do I share them with anyone with a need? His words, “what you do for the least of these..” are weighing heavy on my heart. I continue to wrestle.

I can justify my actions by telling myself that the world is different now, that I’m being responsible for considering long-term ramifications, and that it’s right to put my family first. It is a complex situation, but Jesus’ words were simple and clear. Am I making it harder than it’s supposed to be?

We are moving into the season of giving. How am I going to express the generosity of Christ to others? How am I going to resist the commercialism and foster the Spirit of the season? There is joy in giving. There is joy in doing hard things for Christ. As I move past this most recent “no,” (which I do think was the right decision) I’m actively looking for the next opportunity to say, “yes.” I’m declaring yes to the joy of giving and yes to doing hard things for Christ. Will you join me?

I know I’m not done wrestling with this. How do you know when to say, “Yes?” Share here and we can learn from each other.

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