It's OK to Say No

Lou Lotz

READ : Exodus 32:1-6

“Come, make gods for us, who shall go before us . . .” (v. 1)

The people said to Aaron: “Come, make gods for us, who shall go before us.” Looking back, you wonder whether one good, stiff “No!” from Aaron might have spared the children of Israel this costly misadventure. He doesn’t even try to change their mind. Aaron is the orator. He is good at public speaking. He could have at least tried to reason with the people. Not only does he go along with this ill-fated uprising, he takes it a step farther, erecting for the people an altar, something they had not even asked for. Aaron may come first in every Bible dictionary, but here he finishes a dismal last, committing the cardinal sin of leadership: giving people what they want, instead of what they need.

It’s OK to say no. A child asks his mother if he and some friends can rent an R-rated movie. A teenage daughter pleads with her parents to spend the night at a friend’s house, with no adults present. A chronic drunk driver asks the judge for yet another chance. A lazy student who deserves his failing grade begs the professor for a passing grade. Sometimes the best thing you can do for someone, the most loving thing, is to say no.


Lord, give me the courage to say no.