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Learning to Say No
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I’m a people pleaser and find it hard to say ‘no.’ I hate conflict. It’s difficult for me to cope with the idea that somebody is angry with me. Setting boundaries feels harsh and unkind, yet when I don’t draw lines with others I end up feeling used. Resentment builds up inside and the very thing I desire – to have a good relationship with another person – slips from my grasp.

Do you find it hard to say ‘no’ to another person when, in your gut, you know you should? Do you struggle to disagree with someone because it feels rude? People can feel so hungry for love and acceptance that they will agree with everything another person says or does in order to be liked by them. Still others are worried they will forever burn a bridge with another person by telling them ‘no.’ It’s tough for people pleasers to sort this all out.

Jesus knows how you feel. There were times that He was under tremendous pressure to say ‘yes’. After a time of preaching and healing in Capernaum, Simon went looking for Christ who was praying and said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You” (Mark 1:37 NKJV). They wanted Him to go back to the crowds and heal more people. But Jesus said, “Let us go into the next towns…” (v. 38). Jesus was once asked to settle an inheritance dispute between a couple of brothers to which he said, “Man, who made me a judge or an arbitrator over you?” (Luke 12:14).

Moments of Popularity

One of Jesus’ greatest moments of popularity took place after feeding 5,000 people. The crowds wanted to crown Him king. The Bible says, “Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone” (John 6:15). Christ had times He needed to say ‘no.’

Here are some simple phrases you can use when you need to tell someone ‘no.’ Say, “I’m not the best person to help you with this.” Or, “Let me think about it and get back with you.” Another thing to say is, “Now is not a good time. I’m in the middle of something. Let’s connect later.” Or, “I can’t make a commitment to this right now, I have other priorities I need to attend to.” Of course, the most simple and direct thing you can say is, “No,” or “No thank you,” or, “No, I can’t.”

Learning to say ‘no’ can actually help you experience peace, it can lower your stress, and it can help you think more clearly. When we live to please others, we are looking for them to fill us with love that only God can ultimately provide.

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By Curtis Rittenour. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelinesScripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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