Can you be loving and still say no to requests and invitations? According to Dr. John Townsend sometimes the most loving thing you can do is say no.

“Nowhere in the Scriptures will you find that love means saying yes all the time.”

All we have to do is look at how God loves us as His children to see that love doesn’t always say yes.

“As our heavenly Father who guides, nurtures, and develops us, God says no to us a lot. I know that in my prayer life He doesn’t say, ‘well I know John is going to be sad because he can’t get the car he wants, so I can’t say no.’ He says, ‘nope, you can’t afford it. Keep looking.’

John says that God combines the power of saying no and yes to help us grow and mature.

“Sometimes God gratifies our desires, and other times He says no because He knows it’s not good for us.”

John uses a real-world example to help illustrate the point.

“Say you have a kid who wants to go out and play instead of doing their homework. If you know they’ll be sad if you don’t let them, but you let them anyway, listen to what you’ve just taught them. 1. Homework isn’t very important to mom and dad so it’s not very important to me. 2. If I beg them enough and nag them enough, I’ll get my way. 3. I’m kind of in charge of the house. Those aren’t good lessons for a child to learn.”

It’s important to realize that hurting is not the same thing as harming. It hurts when God says no, but it doesn’t harm or damage us. We can actually harm people more by never saying no.

Boundaries in life


John Townsend is a leadership coach, organizational consultant, psychologist and best-selling author. He consults with corporations, family-owned businesses and small businesses.

Key Scripture: Proverbs 4:23

Featured Songs: Rescue Has Come – Lincoln Brewster; Unfinished – Mandisa; You’re Going to Be Okay – Bethel Music

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