“Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’” – Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 5:37 (NIV)
“I promise I won’t take up much of your time,” the caller said. “We just want to thank you for supporting this worthy cause.”
“How much time will this take?” I asked. “I’m in the middle of something.”
I’m always in the middle of something, but my mother taught me to be polite. To hang up on the pleasant, courteous man wanting to sell me more movies would be rude, as would being short with him. I also knew the man was lying. I’d been through his spiel before, and even when I insisted I wasn’t interested, he took up at least 15 minutes trying to convince me I should purchase, if not the special offer, then another two (he never offered only one) family-friendly movies that my husband and I “would love.” Once or twice I gave in just to get him off the phone. Both times I returned the DVDs, along with the bill. This last time I wrote in big, bold letters across the invoice, “DO NOT CALL. EVER. AGAIN.”
I’ve told the caller on several occasions to please not call me anymore. And he promises he won’t—that he’ll mark it in their records. But he lies. He lies when he tells me the call won’t take up much of my time. He lies when he tells me the call’s only purpose is to thank me and “show their appreciation”—sure, by offering me DVDs at full price. Note: “Special Offer” doesn’t mean “discounted rate.”
Although my phone number is on the “Do Not Call” list, since I was once a customer, they can use that nuisance of a loophole and call me anyway. Sometimes I answer with CLICK. Then I feel guilty because I feel I’ve been rude. But if I stay on the line, he poses a string of well-placed questions. Now, my mother taught me it’s polite to answer other people’s questions. But back then there wasn’t a pack of phone wolves drooling for my money.
But when did she ever tell me I had to give a reason for my “No”? Somewhere along the line, I felt I needed to justify my answer. That’s what the callers bank on. They read you a script that includes answers to every reason you give for your “No.”
In her book, Conquering the Time Factor: Twelve myths that steal life’s precious moments, author Julie-Allyson Ieron debunks the myth that “I owe you a complete, satisfactory explanation when I choose not to do something.” God didn’t give an explanation to Job for all the troubles He allowed Satan to inflict on him, and Jesus didn’t explain to his parents why He didn’t tell them He remained behind in Jerusalem.
I, too, must be about my Father’s business. So the next time I get one of those time-usurping phone calls, I’ll remember Jesus’ instruction to “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’,” and answer with a sweet “I’m not interested, but thank you for calling.” CLICK.
Remind me, Lord, that being a Christian doesn’t mean I have to allow self-seeking people to control the time You have given me to do what YOU called me to do. Amen.
Special-Tea: Job 38:1–18; Luke 2:41–52