How often do you say "no" to anyone? Saying no doesn’t seem like a big deal. You don’t want to do something, you don’t do it. It is so easy to say no, right? Unfortunately there is an epidemic I like to call the “No Prison.” We all have every right to say no at any time. The problem is our nos have been captured. They have been imprisoned. There are many culprits behind this such as guilt, fear, control and more. So many times in my life I have meant to say no but I couldn’t because it was captured. Here is a list of some real life scenarios that happen when it comes to having your no locked up.
Guilt: This one is the worst. You are done before the question is even asked. Thoughts like, "I probably could" and "who else will help them” or “they helped me that one time a few years back.” Have you ever been guilted into saying yes?
Fear: This one has done me in a lot. What if they don’t like me after I say no? What if they tell others that I am not a good person? Fear is the main driver behind insincere nos.
Control: This one is the most manipulative of them all. What could I get from them later? I do have that project coming up so I could leverage my help. Transactional yeses generally leading to insincerity.
Whatever the reason your nos get locked up, it’s never fun to not have the power to say no. Jesus talks about this in Matthew 5:37. He says, “All you need to say is simply, “Yes or No.” How do this relate to the “No Prison”? The context is calling us to not making oaths. Our first thought is usually about oaths with others, but what about making an oath with yourself? This past year I have learned that the integrity of our yes and no extend to the depths of our thought life. Stop negotiating your nos with guilt, fear and whatever you struggle with. When we continue to be locked up in “No Prison” our yeses eventually don’t hold up. What do you need to say no to today that will liberate your yeses for the things that matter?
Say yes to church. It will change your life for the better.