Dear Members and Friends:
“No” or “I will not” are two clear, concise, definitive statements. Often they end conversations or communicate that an obstacle has appeared that may well be insurmountable. Sadly, once uttered, many people do dig in their heels and become immovable.
People around here are pretty good about not uttering either the word or phrase, so I am not writing because I see a problem; rather, because it is an ongoing challenge.
The natural tendency for many if not most people when faced by something new is to immediately respond with a “I don’t like…” Experience, wisdom, maturity has taught us to quiet that urge, allowing time to reflect about it or even experience it because it may actually not only be okay but better than okay.
Even when we are working at being open minded, there are times that fateful two letter word, “No” slips through our lips. All too often, what follows is a digging in as we work to justify our original response.
Words when spoken out loud are powerful.
Most of us want to be perceived as firm. Furthermore, reversing a spoken “no” suggests that I/we were wrong. Who likes making such an admission?
May I suggest we always have the right to change our mind, especially when it is for good. A sign of being open minded is allowing ourselves to continue to reflect, listen, experience and then adapt once decisions are made. Meanwhile, we do need to tamp down negative urges, as they really can stop conversations and the development of ideas. They can even result in ourselves becoming less open.
Jesus tells a parable in Matthew called the Parable of Two Sons, Matthew 21:28-32. The parable is about a father with two sons, each of whom he asks to work in the vineyard. This could be the story of any parent with any children. The first child says, “I will not” and then does. The second child says, “I will” and then does not. Jesus then asks, which child was the better one? The answer as you might suspect, the child who changed its mind and did what the parent requested.
How much better it would have been if that child had not said “no” in the first place. And yet “no” was uttered, but it did not become the endpoint. We always have the right to change our mind for good, to revisit negative decisions. Think about the number of happy couples you know, when you ask what drew them to the other person. Some will say, “I knew the first time I saw him/her.” Others will often say, “When I first met him/her, I simply couldn’t stand him/her, but then…”
We always have the right to change our mind, especially for good.
Grace and Peace,