NO. And....no. And........no. Let me think about it....hmm....
Have I made myself clear yet? I hope so. There is a valid reason for my madness with the word "NO".
See.....we live in times where saying no is just not acceptable. If someone is maintaining a healthy lifestyle and refuses dessert, we treat them like crap. If someone pays off debt and chooses to do things differently, we call them cheap (among other names). And....if someone doesn't go to every Christmas event at church, then we guilt them and throw spiritual terms at them.
What the HELL is wrong with us? (Note: yes, I said "Hell". And it is Hell. It's Hell because we didn't bring resolve or encouragement to the situation. We only brought guilt. And there's little fruit to the Spirit of Guilt. For those of you whom grew up being hammered by guilt all of the time-what did it produce? You know to do things because it's what others expect of you.
But what about God?!?!
This is especially toxic when parents have made guilt their primary way of parenting. A kid will grow up with few dreams or desires because they will lean towards their parents' expectations. There is nothing wrong with having expectations for our children. However, to look at our children and just try to make like into a carbon copy of what our parents expected of us (and still do)--how boring is that? And it doesn't stop there.....
This is very common in the church.We guilt people for not going to church. We guilt people for not giving more time or money. And we wonder why people run away from church!!! Our approach is everything: What if we re-examined our church culture and asked WHY people do not like coming to our church? We could be snobby. We might just be concerned about punching our Sunday/Jesus/Church time-card and not really bring the Gospel to others.
What if we took a look at our church programs and how WE (the Church) spend time and money? Maybe the pastor needs a raise (usually the case in smaller churches). Maybe we spend too much money on lawn care. And fundraisers---hmm, that is something we must address. Do our fundraisers raise funds (hence--why its a FUND RAISER) or are we just going through the motions?Now I want to be crystal clear here.
We cannot say "no" to everything. People need to go to work. Bellies need fed. Things need to get done. There is a time and place for everything.Be different. Be "weird". Say no......Financial expert Dave Ramsey often says that people can't handle "weird". Weird people live on what they make (and often less). Weird people pay off debts and bless others. This is weird in our culture. Our culture says you "should have everything". "You deserve everything".
What if we lived differently? What if we took care of our bills and responsibilities and did not care about others' expectations of us? What if we BLESSED others (time, money,etc) with no strings attached?