Have you ever agreed to do or commit to something that you knew deep within your heart was not for you to do or commit to at the time?

I know I have, and it definitely is not a good experience.

Here are two typical scenarios.


It’s 5:45pm on a Friday evening and Jamie has just gotten home from work after a long, hard week.

Exhausted with her head pounding and body aching, she opens the door to her apartment and heads for the bathroom.

All she wants to do is take a hot shower and curl up on the couch.

Jamie knows she needs to rest.

The phone rings.

It’s her co-worker/friend Dawn and the following conversation ensues.


“Hi Jamie”

“Hi Dawn. What’s up?”

“I’m wondering if you can keep my kids tonight? Dave wants to take me to dinner; I know it’s short notice but I really need this favor.”

“Oh, umm, okay…..no problem. What time?”

“I’ll bring them at 7:00 pm”

“Okay Dawn.”

“Great! Thanks a mill!”

“Okay, goodbye.”

Jamie hangs up the phone. She really does not feel up to babysitting anyone.

She flops her aching body down on the couch and she is angry; angry with Dawn for being so insensitive by asking her to keep her kids on such short notice, especially after such a trying week and angry with herself for not saying “no”.

What do you think Jamie could have said to Dawn that would have been a more authentic and truthful, yet tactful and sensitive response?

I think that as opposed to agreeing and violating her conscience by saying “yes”, perhaps she could have said:

“Dawn, I’m happy Dave asked you out and I understand your babysitting dilemma, but I really can’t keep the kids tonight because I’m honestly not feeling well and need to rest. I am sorry to not be able to help you this time, but maybe next time.”

Have you ever agreed to do something you knew deep within your heart was not for you to do at the time?

In other words, can you recall a time when your “yes” should have been “no” when requested to do something?

If so, how did you feel after agreeing to do it?

What could you have said that would have been a more authentic and truthful, yet tactful and sensitive response?


John is a loving husband and father of 9-year-old twin sons.

He takes his responsibilities as a godly husband and father seriously and therefore makes time in his busy schedule to build his relationships with his wife and sons and be the priest of his home.

John is also the owner and CEO of a large, thriving consultancy firm which he not only views as a means of income and financial stability, but also as a marketplace ministry. As such, not only does he run the business based on God honoring principles, but he also personally leads a devotional meeting every Monday morning for his staff and hosts a Bible Study on Thursdays for an hour after work which many of his employees attend.

John is also an active member of the men’s fellowship at his church, always ready and willing to take part in and contribute to its many projects, activities and assignments, and in the community, he is known for making the most of every opportunity that arises to share his faith in Christ and to encourage or build up everyone who crosses his path.

John feels good about his life and has inner peace about what He is doing to advance the Kingdom of God at home, work, church and in the community. Challenged but not overwhelmed, he senses deep within his spirit that He is walking in the will of God for this season of his life.

One morning after just settling in at work, the phone rings.

It’s John’s pastor and the following conversation ensures.

“Hello, John speaking.”

“Hi John, this is Pastor Brian…how are you and your family?”

“Hi Pastor Brian, we’re doing great!….it’s nice to hear from you.”

“John, the board has decided to appoint a new head of evangelism who will be responsible for training the church members in techniques and issues on evangelism. This person will organize and lead training sessions on Wednesday evenings from 7:30pm – 9:00pm and practice sessions on Saturday mornings from 10:00am – 11:00am over the next 6 months.”


“Well, we’ve talked and prayed about who would be best suited for this position and we’ve come to the unanimous decision that you’re the man for the job.”

“Really?” says John as he feels that familiar knot forming in his stomach that occurs when God is warning Him not to go down a particular path.

“Yes John, and we know you won’t disappoint us by saying no will you?”

“No, of course not”…says John as he feels the knot in his stomach tighten.

“So what do you say John? Can we depend on you to take this appointment? It is a very important need in the church.”

“Well okay, I’ll do it.”

“Great!…I’ll let the board know. Thanks John!’

“No problem Pastor Brian.”

“Bye John, I’ll talk with you later.”

“Goodbye Pastor Brian”

John hangs up the phone and thinks to himself “what on earth have I done!”

He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he should not have agreed to take the position due to his present schedule and the now painfully tight knot in his stomach mockingly re-affirmed his wrong choice.

Disappointed and angry with himself  for not telling Pastor Brian “no”, John sits wringing his hands, wondering how he can get out of this predicament he’s placed himself in.

What do you think John could have said to Pastor Brian that would have been a more authentic and truthful, yet tactful and sensitive response?

I think that as opposed to agreeing and violating his conscience by saying “yes”, John could have said:

“Pastor Brian, I am truly honored that the board would consider me for such a position, but because of my present schedule and commitments, I can not effectively serve in that capacity at this time. Even as you spoke, I got that inner nudge from the Holy Spirit that this is not the time for me to take on such a commitment. Again, although honored I will unfortunately have to turn down the position at this time; I hope you understand.”

Have you ever agreed to commit to something that you knew within your heart was not for you to commit to at the time? 

In other words, can you recall a time when your “yes” should have been “no” when requested to commit to something?

If so, how did you feel after agreeing to commit to it?

What could you have said that would have been a more authentic and truthful response, yet tactful and sensitive?

If we are honest with ourselves, when it comes to personal requests, sometimes we say “yes” to what we know deep inside we should really say “no” to because of fear; fear of disappointing the other person, fear of rejection by the other person, fear of losing an opportunity, fear of no longer being viewed by the person in a favorable light, fear of an angry response from the person, or fear of some other negative result if we say “no”.

Other times we succumb to the temptation of “yes” to what we know deep inside we should really say “no” to because we feel “yes” will afford us some desired personal gain such as perks, privileges, higher esteem, greater income, coveted associations, a glamorous or outstanding addition to our resume, a favor we can “cash in” on later when we need something from the person in the future, or some other coveted result.

And other times, we say “yes” when we we know inside we ought to say “no” simply because we do not want to hurt the feelings of or disappoint the other person.

Whatever the case, as Believers, it is important for us to practice honesty in all aspects of our lives including saying “no” to personal requests when deep in our hearts we know we ought not say “yes”.

According to Psalms 51:6, God desires truth in our innermost parts.

This means that when faced with a request, an inner “no” in our spirit should manifest as an outer “no” and not as a “yes”, and conversely, an inner “yes” in our spirit should manifest as an outer”yes” and not as a “no”.


Father, we confess that we have not always handled personal requests in a way that is pleasing to You.

Forgive us of every past instance of inauthenticity and dishonesty in our dealings with such matters and enable us by Your grace, Your divine enabling power, to walk in truth in spite of the consequences.

Keep us mindful of the reality that it is far better to please You at the expense of man’s favor than to please man at the expense of  Your favor.

We thank You and ask these things in Jesus’ Name, amen.

Be encouraged!



Copyright © 2014 by Kim Sweeting, Author of “Unwalled” Blog, All rights reserved.

Image “ YES OR NO SIGNPOST ” by Stuart Miles courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net






13 thoughts on “WHEN “YES” SHOULD BE “NO”

  1. HI good morning and thanks so much…….God is good!…\o/.…..re:John, remember though that for him, the previously established unique way the Holy Spirit deals with him when God does not want him to go down a particular path is the knot forming in his stomach and since that began occurring and intensifying as Pastor Brian spoke to him, he already had his answer and really did not need to pray about it further, unless he needed or desired re-confirmation…..like we all do occasionally…:)

  2. Thanks for the reblog…..I’m honored, and happy that even more people will be able to get blessed by the post….:)

  3. Yes….I guess it depends on where a person is at in their relationship with their leader and their understanding of each other as well as sensitivity to what other circumstances the leader may be dealing with at the time….:)

  4. Lol…..agreed, but not in this instance….in this case it was God’s personal navigation warning system for John…:)

  5. I tend to do this, since I like to help everyone out, even when I shouldn’t maybe. By the way, our pastor here in Pastor Brian, although he doesn’t pressure people at all. I have been pressured into leadership positions when I was younger where I didn’t feel comfortable. It’s hard to say no sometimes, even (or especially) in the church.

  6. Hi David, I think most people have some challenges with this, especially those who are helpful by nature and if they are talented as well, it makes the situation even more difficult, and if the situation concerns church matters, it can be even more difficult….:) As I’ve gotten older spiritually and chronologically, it’s become easier to say “no” when I need to………my inner peace and peace in my relationship with the Lord has become far more important to me than being liked, accepted or understood by others..….age has it’s benefits…:)….lol. Your pastor in South Korea is Pastor Brian….what a coincidence!……I’m sure it’s appreciated that he doesn’t pressure people…:)

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