A Petite But Potent Word

Some writers consider “no” to be the hardest word to say. Of course, whether or not this is true depends on the context. For example, most parents don’t have a problem dropping this word if their children get out of line. You can picture it, can’t you? A tiny hand is reaching for a hot stove. ”No!” you yell, “It’s hot!” If I had a penny for every time I’ve said “no” to my children, I would probably have like $50. So, there are occasions when saying “no” is not all that difficult.

Nevertheless, we struggle saying this word in other contexts, especially if saying it means losing out on something or sacrificing something we deem important. The Bible tells of those who failed to say “no” when they should have. For instance, Adam and Eve didn’t say “no” in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:1-7), and we are still feeling the consequences of their failure today. The Bible is also replete with those who said “no,” despite the circumstances, because it was the right thing to say. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego said “no” when commanded to worship a 90-foot golden image (Dan. 3). These men were so committed to the first and second commandments that they were willing to sacrifice their lives by refusing to worship something other than God. Would you have said “no”? Or would you have said “yes” to escape confrontation and preserve your life?

Aren’t you glad that Jesus said “no” when tempted by Satan in the desert (Matt. 4:1-11)? If He had said “yes,” He would have relinquished His role as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. Speaking of His sacrifice, aren’t you relieved that Jesus said “no” to those who tempted Him either to sidestep the cross or to come down from the cross? Maybe there are some things that you need to say “no” to once and for all. When you’re tempted to say “yes” when you should say “no,” think of Jesus who said “no” on numerous occasions so that He could be your Savior.

Jacob Evans
Lawrenceburg, TN

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