The Right Way to Say No

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"Miss Clark gave me the part of the devil in our class play," Tony told his parents as the family sat around the dinner table one evening, "but I really don't want to do it. I don't think God would like that, do you?"

"No," said Mom, passing the casserole dish. "Did you tell her how you feel?"

"I was going to, but . . ." Tony's explanation was interrupted by his sister.

"What's in that casserole?" Carrie asked with a frown. "I'm not eating it!"

"You need to eat a little," insisted Mom. She put a spoonful on Carrie's plate and another on Jenna's.

"I was going to tell Miss Clark," said Tony, "but I overheard Fiona talking to her first. Fiona was supposed to be a witch in the play, and I heard her tell Miss Clark she wouldn't do it. Miss Clark got angry, so I was afraid . . ."

This time Tony was interrupted by Jenna. "Mom, is it okay if I eat extra vegetables instead of the rest of this casserole, please?" she asked.

Mom hesitated. "I guess so," she agreed, "but take two more bites of that first."

"What can I do about the play?" Tony asked. He sighed as Carrie took over the conversation.

"I'm not eating another bite of this," she declared. "Why should I if Jenna doesn't have to finish hers?"

"Because your attitude is bad," Dad spoke sternly. "Jenna asked politely if she could have a substitute. You announced that you were not going to eat yours, and you said it very rudely."

Mom turned to Tony. "Maybe that's the answer to your problem," she said. "Did Fiona ask to be excused from the part assigned to her, or did she just say she wouldn't do it? Did she politely explain why she didn't want the part?"

"She just said she wasn't going to do it," replied Tony. "She really was pretty nasty about it. I guess that might be why Miss Clark got angry."

Dad nodded. "Attitude doesn't always make the difference, but whether or not our requests are granted often depends more on how we ask than on what we ask," he said, as much to Carrie as to Tony.

The next day, Tony came home wearing a grin. "Guess what?" he said. "I told Miss Clark why I'd like to be excused from the play. She said, 'Sure. If that's how you feel, you shouldn't do it.' A good attitude really can make a difference!"

How About You?
When you're asked to do something you feel is wrong, do you say no? You should, but say it in the right way. Daniel "purposed in his heart" (made up his mind ahead of time) that he would not do anything wrong. You need to do that, too, but don't do it with a rebellious, proud attitude. Honor God in the way you speak and act. Be respectful but firm, as Daniel was. The result may depend more on your attitude than on what you say.

Today's Key Verse:
Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.
(Daniel 1:8)

Today's Key Thought:
Do right with a right attitude