Why is it so hard for us to take no for an answer?
How do we act when we don’t get our way? “No” used to be an absolute. It had teeth to it and was a non-negotiable answer. Just ask my dad. If you wanted to dispute the answer, you, in all likelihood, would still not get what ever you wanted but would lose another privilege, or even a little corporal punishment.
This situation with parents seemed to be standard with most of my friends.
When did it all change? I believe it started with my kids. “No” was usually the beginning of a lengthy negotiation in which they many times won. Why was I such a wimp with them when I was not trained that way? I liked giving in. It made me feel benevolent. I thought they would love me more, which would be an added bonus. They knew how to make it seem like I didn’t love them if they didn’t get their way. God forbid that they might think I didn’t love them, even though I wasn’t too concerned what God forbade at that point in my life.
What I didn’t realize was I was teaching them to challenge authority. I noticed many of my peers treated their children the same way. Now it seems that with many of our children’s children, they do what they want regardless of what their parents say.
What happens when God says no? Many people don’t know what He has to say, or care if they obey Him. Because He is patient with us and we don’t see immediate consequences for our disobedience, we may have the tendency to believe there is no God, or He is not concerned with what we do.
In other words, because we get away with it, we believe He approves. Or maybe He doesn’t disapprove.
Should we be worried about what God might think of our disobedience? What has He done in the past? The total destruction of society with the flood comes to mind. Sodom and Gomorrah should be a warning.
We are told by Jesus in the book of Revelation, ” Those who I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.” Do I conclude from that, if I am not being rebuked or disciplined God doesn’t love me? Maybe I am not being disciplined because I am perfect.
What happens when a nation turns its back on God? There are many examples throughout history, but now is the time to listen.
As we began to see rampant senseless killings and repeated climate disasters it brings to mind Proverbs 1:27-30:
27 When your terror comes like a storm, And your destruction comes like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you.
28 “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.
29 Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the Lord,
30 They would have none of my counsel And despised my every rebuke.
31 Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, And be filled to the full with their own fancies.
32 For the turning away of the simple will slay them, And the complacency of fools will destroy them;
33 But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, And will be secure, without fear of evil.”
As I read what I’ve written I’m reminded of when I was a kid and the guys I would see on the streets in Los Angeles wearing the sandwich boards, standing on a crate shouting for people to repent, that the kingdom of heaven was at hand.
I thought those guys were crazy, and now I have become one of them. I urge you to turn to Jesus.
“But if you try sometimes, well you might find, You get what you need” – The Rolling Stones.
Noel Reese is the pastor at Calvary Chapel Rio Vista. He can be reached at www.calvarychapelriovista.com