Poll: Should Christians Just Say No?

Should Christians feel guilty about just saying ‘no‘ when asked to do something for the church/member? When the answer is ‘no‘ is an explanation needed? Do you feel an explanation is demanded? Do you feel like you’re sinning if you just say ‘no‘?

Do you feel the need to explain every detail of the last week of your life to explain why your simple answer is ‘no‘?

Must we explain ourselves? I’m curious. What do you think?

Feel free to share your feelings too!

~Please answer the poll below~

Should Christians just say 'no' without explanation when asked to do something?

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tagged as , in Church Issues,Culture

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jason Smathers September 1, 2009 at 2:02 pm

If you are seen as saying no frequently without explanation other church members may not understand and question your character. This could lead to becoming ineffective at discipleship or teaching.

2 carlgobelman September 1, 2009 at 2:35 pm

I don’t think the answer is ever “always yes” or “always no.” Situation will dictate what level, if any, of detail is warranted. My personal feeling, assuming we’re talking about serving in church ministries, is that many churches (mine included) probably have more ministries than they need to be involved in. Furthermore, we use subtle pressure tactics to persuade people to serve. Finally, with all these subordinate ministries clogging the calendar, the church can’t do the one thing it needs to do well — preach the gospel!

3 Mark Lamprecht September 1, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Isn’t it interesting how we perceive things? I didn’t ask about frequency. I hope people aren’t getting asked to do so many things (so many they can’t do) that it is that easy to build a rapport for saying no.

The premise is not that we should say no as often as possible. Rather, when we do say no to a task how is this done?

4 Mark Lamprecht September 1, 2009 at 2:41 pm

Carl, thanks for dropping by. I’m really just asking about the times when we say no. What you say here is very interesting.

Furthermore, we use subtle pressure tactics to persuade people to serve.

This might be partially why we feel such a need to explain our answers. Funny, when we say ‘yes’ we don’t seem to go into much explanation. It’s usually a “Yes, I’d love to.” It is harder to say “No, thank you, but I appreciate you asking.”

5 Wes Widner September 1, 2009 at 3:59 pm

Jesus said let our yes be yes and our no be no. Unless I feel like it (and this is getting more and more rare) I simply say no and leave it there.

I agree with Carl, though. I think the expectation of an explanation behind a “no” answer is mostly a subtle manipulation tactic many times.

6 Darrin September 1, 2009 at 5:15 pm

I don’t like to say “No” without an explanation.

So I go completely mute. I just run as fast as possible in the other direction without saying a word.

Well, I might say “Whoa, look, what’s that over there?” before I take off.

7 sdansmith September 1, 2009 at 7:19 pm

I think that if anything, a person might need to explain simply because a person who asked might be an abusive church member. Usually, this happens if you have already said yes to everything and the staff knows that you’ll just cave in. Then you need to explain your “no” just so they understand that you’re not on the market any more.

8 Mark Lamprecht September 1, 2009 at 8:16 pm

Interesting hearing about manipulation tactics and abusive people. I didn’t think of it in that manner. I’m sure these people exist with such motives. I hope that doesn’t describe the majority of people and that people are just accustomed to getting a reason.

Maybe it would be a good idea to just say no at certain times and build up to it. 🙂

9 The Introvert September 3, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Well, I’m a chronic “yes” person. It runs in the family. And when it starts to get in the way of time with my husband or I know I’ll do it begrudgingly, that’s when I say no. You’re supposed to serve with a joyful heart.

10 Mark Lamprecht September 4, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Interesting, thanks. You sound like an introvert. 🙂

11 EG December 16, 2009 at 1:59 pm

We should say “Yes” when possible because it’s a joy to serve or help people. Though it’s good to examine your motives (for both yes and no). But too often at church I feel a lot of pressure to “explain myself” if I —for example— decline going to a women’s retreat that year or decide to stay home instead of go to a yet another dinner party. I sometimes get awkward looks like “well why wouldn’t you WANT to go?” A helpful explanation I use (truthfully) is “I’m feeling overwhelmed”. I think people inquire to make sure we’re OK and not taking the easy way out. I dont think an explanation is required, we probably immediately give one because we’re afraid of what people think of us. Like… “I can’t go to the retreat because I don’t have the money to pay for it and I’ve been out of town every weekend this month and etc etc”.

12 Mark Lamprecht December 17, 2009 at 11:19 am

EG, thanks. I like your comment. You really get to the heart of it when you say

But too often at church I feel a lot of pressure to “explain myself”

13 Raymond Primrose June 17, 2012 at 10:58 am

The Bible says to say ”yes or no”,and that anything in between that is a sin. So as a Pastor I believe God will guide and bless which response is used in a given situation. And all I give to a person is scripture on why I said no or yes. When God said in between that-”THAT IN BETWEEN GOES A LONG WAY.” So to keep myself pure I give, but I give little in my response to why I said no or yes.”

14 Lisa Guzman October 6, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Lisa Guzman:
I believe its healthy to tell your christian brother or sister, family member or friend no i wont be able to do this for you today, Their have been many times i have said no i can’t do this to my family member. Its better to be honest than serve with a grudge. Yes, sometimes the individual may have gotten angry with me and have said your not a Christian. However, I’ve learned never to allow words spoken to shake my confidence in Christ because God knows the heart and only he makes us stand. Saying no in love doesn’t mean your a bad person and it doesn’t mean you will never be there for the person. However, the occurrence may have come at a time you couldn’t do it and its ok. We are human, we can’t lose sight of that. (Grace) (Freedom) I believe in kindly explaining why we couldn’t do it because alot of us are sensitive in Christ and we have a misplaced viewpoint of what Christianity is at times and may have lost sight of our humanity. There is too much focus on outward performance and too many unnecessary demands placed on one another in the body of Christ. Jesus has called us to be free from any burdens and false guilt we were never meant to carry. We are called to be free in Christ! Feel Free to say No!

Love Lisa Guzman


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