The Positive Power of “No”


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Bible Reading: John 10:7-10

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10, NIV

EVER FEEL LIKE your parents are always saying no to you?

“Mom, can I go over to Carly’s house?”

“Dad, can I watch Blood, Guts, and Gore on the Movie Channel?”

“Can I have a computer for Christmas?”

“Can I stay home instead of going to Grandma’s house?”

“Can I sell my little sister to the gypsies?”

“Can I bungee jump off the roof of the house?”

It may seem like your parents never say anything but no! It may seem like they’re always saying, “Don’t do this,” and “You can’t do that.” Not only that, but it seems like God does the same thing (except that he says, “Thou shalt not do this,” and “Thou shouldst not do that”). It’s all so negative, right?

Well, no. It may sometimes seem like no is a negative word, but it can be positive. The things you say no to can make your life better, not worse.

For example, say your friends try to talk you into sneaking out your bedroom window tonight so you can go with them to spray-paint bad words on walls. You say no. Your friends get caught, and they have to spend every Saturday until they’re, like, eighty years old scrubbing graffiti off walls. Was saying no a negative thing? No, because the results—in the long run especially—were much better than if you’d said yes.

Or consider one more example. Your older brother asks you to tell your parents that he stayed home with you last night, when you know he was really out at a beer party. You don’t want to get your brother mad at you, but you say no to your brother and tell your parents the truth when they ask you. He does get mad because your parents ground him. But a week later, a carload of your brother’s friends get into a car accident on the way home from another beer party, and you realize your brother could have been hurt-or killed—if you hadn’t told the truth. Was saying no a negative thing? No, because the results-in the long run especially-were good.

Saying no can seem like such a negative thing. You might say no to something you or your friends really want to do. But saying no to wrong or unwise things is a positive thing, not a negative thing. That’s the positive power of no.

REFLECT: Does it seem that your parents always say no to the things you want to do? Have you said no to a wrong or unwise choice recently? Did that make your life worse or better? Why? The next time your parents say no to something you want to do, try to stop and ask yourself if that no might actually protect you or have another positive effect.

PRAY: “God, help me to trust your wisdom—and the wisdom of my parents— whenever I hear the word no.”


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