When you make a commitment to someone by saying “yes”, the other person begins to make plans based on your “yes”.
Maybe you said “yes” to a friend’s dinner invitation, so your friend made a special menu, made a grocery-shopping list, cleaned her house, maybe even got out her fine china and polished her silver, and went shopping for food. She invested her time, talent, and treasure (money) to bless you with a special meal because you said “yes”.
Maybe you said “yes” to taking your daughter on a special father daughter date night. Your daughter asked for some special one on one time with you, so you told your her you would take her to her favorite restaurant for burgers and a milkshake, and to a movie she’s wanted to see, just the two of you. Your daughter is so excited to spend time with you because you said “yes”.
Maybe you said “yes” to babysitting for a woman who has to work on a Saturday to get a big project done at work. She told her boss she would be at work, and her boss is forming a plan on how many people need to work Saturday, and how to spread the staff out to get this project done. Plans for many people are being made because you said “yes”.
Maybe you said “yes” to volunteering for an event. The event coordinator has assigned you a position and is counting on you to be there to do what you said you would do, and has determined how many other volunteers are needed because you said “yes”.
Maybe you said “yes” to a sleepover at your friend’s house. Your friend has cleaned her room, come up with some fun ideas to do when you hang out, picked out some movies to watch, and her mom may have made some adjustments in the family budget to squeeze in pizza and ice cream for your sleepover. Your friend is excited and plans are being made because you said “yes”.
Maybe you said “yes” to a part in your school’s musical. You’ve auditioned, your teacher has assigned parts, rehearsals are in full swing, the musical is being promoted, and tickets are being sold. You are part of something and plans are moving forward because you said “yes”.
Your “yes” matters. Your “yes” sets plans in motion.
Most of the time we genuinely intend to keep our word when we say “yes” to an invitation or a commitment. Sometimes, though, something comes up and we need to cancel or reschedule. People get sick, you get called to work, there’s a family emergency, or a death in the family.
But for some, “yes” is simply a placeholder commitment for “I’ll see how I feel when the day comes”, “unless I get a better offer”, “unless this project gets too challenging or is more work than I expected”.
You can say “no”.
I have personally come to a place where I respect a person’s “no” more than I appreciate their “yes”. Why? We have become a culture that does not honor their word. I have been left picking up the pieces of someone’s broken commitment more times than I can count, so to me, a “no” is always better than an empty “yes”.
When you repeatedly say “yes” but your follow through says “no”, you lose credibility with people. You disappoint others and cause inconveniences.
- “All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” Matthew 5:37
- Pray and think before you give your answer
- Honor people’s time
- Keep your word and honor your commitments