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The Positive Side of No

"But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load."1

Yesterday the Apostle Paul was telling us that we need to "carry each other's burdens," and today, a few verses later, he's telling us that each person needs to carry his own load. Sure sounds contradictory … at least on the surface.

Actually, in yesterday's instruction, the word for burden in the original language applied to a load or burden that was too heavy for one person to carry alone. The word for "load" in today's Scripture verse means a load that one is quite capable of carrying himself.

Yes, we do need to help one another in times of need when one’s burden is too heavy to carry alone, but there are times when helping to carry another person's load when he or she should be carrying it alone is not helpful.

These are the times when we need to say no, and it applies to a very positive action. For instance, there are some people who are takers. They take all they can get and give little if anything in return. They are self-centered and selfish. To do for them what they can and need to do for themselves is not loving or helping, but hurting them. It keeps us weak and reinforces their laziness and selfishness.

These people are so used to getting (manipulating to get) their own way that they don't like taking no for an answer. Chances are they will try to make you feel guilty when you say no. If they do, a good answer is a line from the country-western song that says rather eloquently, "What part of no don't you understand? … I'll be glad to explain!"

Remember, too, we don't need to justify ourselves when we say no. We just need to take a page out of Jesus' book: "Just say a simple, 'Yes, I will,' or 'No, I won't.' Your word is enough."2

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please give me the wisdom to know if and when I am being used and the courage to say no when needed. And when another person tries to pressure me to do something wrong, again give me the courage to say, 'No, I won't.' Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."

Note: For further help read, “Overcoming Codependency,” at:

1. Galatians 6:4-5 (NKJV).
2. Matthew 5:37 (NLT).


All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.