Say Yes More Than You Say No

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

“Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap.
For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you.”

The Gospel according to St. Luke 6:36-38

The best advice I received as a parent of young children was this: “Say yes more than you say no.” It’s a lesson that stayed with me long after our children left home because it applies to all relationships. The child psychologist that wrote that advice was referring to the spirit of “no” that we must guard against in parenting children with rigidity and close-mindedness. We can soften by saying “yes” in the important task of raising children with love, acceptance, and forgiveness. I thought of this as I read the gospel reading today for Jesus; the Master Psychologist is the perfect example of saying yes more than no. His mercy is his yes to us!

The response of mercy is the prerequisite of living as God’s child, you could say it’s in our DNA as a beloved child of the Most High God; woefully dormant sometimes, but it is there. The heart of the good news of Jesus is this: “God so loved the world that he gave…” and the entirety of his giving to us is revealed in Jesus’ actions and teachings. We witness the if/then of saying yes to God as Jesus lived among us giving practical insight into how to say yes more than we say no to our neighbor, be it our child, spouse, sibling, friend, co-worker, or acquaintance.

Perhaps you grew up under the supposition of God as Judge rather than of God as Lover; that kind of thinking can entangle us in a briary patch that only the Lover of our Soul can rescue us. Do you feel me? I think what hinders us in saying yes with mercy and acceptance to others is that we’ve deluded ourselves by believing this of the LORD because sometimes we transfer this thinking to our reactions to others. We so easily default to judgment in our thoughts, words, and actions that others have a hard time seeing mercy and love in us; it’s as though the word “No” is flashing with neon lights from our countenance. The LORD desires to purge us of this sin.

The remedy is the confession of the judgmental spirit we excuse in ourselves. But then, we must allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in choosing to say yes to others as the LORD says yes to us! What makes me think that I can do otherwise? Remembering “For God so loved the world that he gave…..” is helping to remove the proverbial log in my eye as I live beside others in this life; this is how I have been praying that truth over my life, “For Lois so loves God that she gives…..” Wow! That stops me in my tracks when judgment and condemnation begin to poison my thought life. It’s hard work, but Christ is yoked with us as we plow through the weeds that entangle us!

Today’s gospel reading happens to be one of the many “Come-to-Jesus” readings that are helping me relearn the LORD as Lover by unlearning the attitudes and actions I can accumulate in saying “no” to others through my judgmental thoughts and words. I invite you to pray with me the Gospel according to St. Luke 6:36-38

“[Lois] Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

Father, your forbearance and grace cannot be measured; it’s beyond my comprehension. Help me learn to extend my “yes” of love and acceptance of others. Holy Spirit, reveal all the thoughts I have that are contrary to love. Purge them from my mind.

“[Lois] Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.”

LORD Jesus, you rubbed shoulders with anyone and everyone, even those that we would avoid if left to our own devices. You love! No matter the creed or ethnicity or sexual identity or state of existence! Holy Spirit, expand mercy in me until I no longer see anyone as unequal to me. I love you so much that I choose to give acceptance to everyone. We are your children.

[Lois] Forgive and you will be forgiven.

Savior and Redeemer, you love me so much that you forgive me–my sins and failings, my raw edges, my pride, fear, and anger. I choose to love you so much that I desire to forgive others. I choose to love you so much that I extend grace rather than second-guessing judgment when I don’t understand another’s words or actions. I love you so much that I choose to look for you in another’s eyes; I choose to see your face looking back at me. I love you so much that I choose my countenance says yes to everyone, EVERYONE!

“[Lois] Give and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap
.”

Father of all Good Gifts, you overwhelm me with your grace and mercy, your joy and peace. Your love is endless! Forgive me for putting limits on my love for others. You did not create me this way; would you recreate generosity of spirit in me? I don’t want to give by counting what it will cost me because it already cost you everything to love me. I choose to love you so much that I freely give the gifts of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, and faithfulness to others.

[Lois]… the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you.”

Holy Spirit of God, I’m ashamed at how quickly I measure others by impossible standards! Forgive the stingy thoughts that creep into my unguarded mind. Train me to say yes to your love at the first hint of my withholding love from another.

I love you so much that I give my thoughts, words, deeds to you without any measure. I love you so much that I choose to love as you have loved me, laying my life down in favor of the love you desire to give through me.

In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

As it was in the beginning, it is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

Amen

Published by

The Maiden Warrior

Greetings, friend. "In silence and rest is your salvation" are words from the prophet Isaiah that echo the desire of my life. I've been following that desire my entire life as I seek to live and move and have my being in what the LORD desires for me. I'm still learning the beauty of silence and rest as my salvation, it's a long obedience in the right direction. This is my journey.

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