The Courage to Say No – Ps Geoff Wiklund

The Courage to Say No

Ps Geoff Wiklund

Hello, Campers! It’s a joy to be with you. As you can see by the screen behind me, I’m going to do two messages. The first one is ‘The courage to say no’ and the second one is ‘The courage to say yes’.

I’ve got this beautiful Scripture in Proverbs chapter 1 that says:  ‘My son if sinners entice you, do not consent’. Another translation puts it this way: ‘When peer pressure compels you to go with the crowd and sinners invite you to join in, you must simply say no’. What an incredibly good piece of advice. I have to say, in all my years, one of my weakest abilities is to say no. And it’s something I’m having to learn.

So, I want to give you something in your tool belt today. I want to give you the ability to say no. I’ve chosen the hammer there because I do want you to get hammered because you say yes to stuff, but you can see the tool belt is empty. I want to give you the simplest tool in there, and that is the ability to say no.

Look at Joseph’s situation. We find his situation here, that he is working for this guy, and his wife is a hot young thing, and she keeps asking him to go to bed with her, and he is looking at how beautiful she is. But he continues to say no, he said, ‘I will not sin against God’, and that is a key. Guys, when we are saying yes to sin, we’re actually sinning against God. And you know, when David got caught in sin with Bathsheba, God said; ‘why have you despised my commandments?’ So really what we’re doing is despising God. So this ability to say no is incredibly important to us.

So, let’s look at a situation that I have to put up with regularly. I get invited to go and speak somewhere and get there, I am too busy but I lack the courage to say no, and so I put myself under incredible pressure. You and I often say yes because we don’t want to hurt their feelings. They often invite us and say do you want to come to the movies with me, we’re tired, we don’t really want to go, we say yes because we don’t want to hurt their feelings.

Sometimes we want to be accepted. We want to be a part of the crowd. We fear if we say no, we might not get another invitation. We might get left out next time, and so we feel this pressure to be accepted. Sometimes, we just want to be loved, and so we say yes because we want to be loved. Sometimes we say yes in order to get love, but’s not really what we want.

Another thing I think is that we lack boundaries. We’re not prepared to say no because we don’t have those boundaries set in place. One of the things I love about reading the Bible is that the Bible gives me boundaries, and so I’m getting better at saying no to things.

And here is another one that we often have and that is our values. What are our values? People say, come and watch the movie. There’s a little bit of swearing and a little bit of sex, but it’s a really good movie. Where are your values in that? Are we bold enough to say: ‘No, I’m sorry’? I always remember the EE training and they shared there about an omelette. And they said: come have part of my omelette, five of the eggs are okay, but one is rotten. Do you want that omelette? No, you don’t, because that little bit is rotten. Well, isn’t that the same with the movie? A little bit is rotten? And so, do we have the courage to say: ‘No, I’m sorry. I’m not going to watch that. I don’t think it’s going to be helpful to me. These scenes are going to stay in my mind.’ Because there’s no two ways about it for us, particularly as men, that visual images can get stuck in our minds and cause us problems later on.

Some people say just read the book, you know, it’s mostly okay. Well, I’m coming to the point now, where I’m thinking about is this book going to edify me, is it actually going to cause me to grow. Jim Hern used to say to me, Geoff, you’ll be the same now as you are in ten years except for the people that you associate with and the books you read. What are we reading? I look at some of these junky magazines and things and all the gossip in it. Are we prepared to actually say no to that stuff? That’s not going to help us.

Do I have the courage to say no to part of the conversation? Because I can see that this conversation is gossip, it’s pulling other people down, it’s backstabbing. Do we have the courage to speak up and say: ‘Hey, maybe we should pray for this person’? Instead of pulling them down which is not going to change anything. Maybe we need to have the courage to say, no, I’m not going to be part of that.

Maybe we have to say no to being a part of a deal, because the deal is crocked or it’s not going to be quite legal, you know. There is always the temptation to do things. One of the things people often put is cash jobs, just pay me the cash, because then I’m not going to pay taxes. But if everyone avoids paying taxes, our country’s got a problem, and so we’ve got to be bold enough to say no, I’ve got some values here, and my values are, I would rather pay the taxes. How good that is. I have a friend of mine who after 35 years of avoiding taxes, was done by the IRD. He’s now paying back his estimated taxes of $350,000. Yeah.

Nehemiah’s a great example. Look at this scripture here. ‘Sanballat and Geshem sent to me saying come let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono but they thought to do me harm. So I sent message to them saying ‘I’m doing a great work so I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?’ But they sent this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner.’ You know what, great example. They continue to pester him. He continues with the same answer.

I want to say that no often leads to blessing. Look at Psalm 1 “Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly (following their advice, their plans, and purposes) nor stands (submissive and inactive) in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down (to relax and rest) where the scornful (and the mockers) gather.”

I tell you what, no leads to blessing. We see with Nehemiah four times he just continues the same message ‘I’m too busy doing God’s work to come down.’ That’s got to be us people doing the things that we know that the Father wants us to do. Let’s just be bold enough to say ‘no I’m too busy’, and let’s see the blessing that comes when we say no.

Our no sends a message. It says here in Ephesians 5:11 ‘Take no part in, have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds and enterprises of darkness but instead let your lives be in contrast as to expose and reprove and convict them.” So when we say no to things other people are convicted by that. They see that hey, maybe I should have the courage to say no as well, and so your no might encourage some other people around you, in actual fact, to have the courage to say no as well.

And be decisive. Jesus said let your yes be yes and your no be no, for whatever is more than these is from the evil one. So often we say no, but then people begin to put pressure on and encourage us and coerce us and whatever, and all of a sudden then ‘oh okay then’ and we give in. Hey, let our no be no. I think sometimes, what I’m learning is to say ‘What didn’t you understand about no?’ You know? Really, that’s the way it’s got to be.

So what’s the application for us today? Today I’m giving you permission to say no. You don’t have to do those things to be accepted in love, in actual fact, we’ve got to be accepted and loved by God and sometimes no is the right answer. You now have a new tool in your tool belt. It’s called no. Remember that verse? You just simply say no and mean it.

Also, I think we have to set boundaries. It’s one of the things that at my age on still learning. Is that ability to set boundaries, and I will not be lead away from my purpose. I’m not going to give up my purpose in God to do what others want us to do.