"Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough.” – Josh Billings

    by Rob Globke

    The word "NO" is often lost in a world filled with the pressure of constantly fitting in. For hockey players who play a team sport, the pressure of fitting in is even more heightened. We want to be part of the team so bad that at times we find ourselves sacrificing our deepest beliefs in the midst of temptations. Saying "NO" is definitely not always easy, but it is an essential habit to guarding your heart from evil.

    In this blog we will look at a way to say "NO" that might help make the practice much easier. A hockey player, fan or parent can better say "NO" when they make sure to explain "WHY" they are saying "NO". Answering the question "WHY" is one of the most important aspects when saying no to wrong behavior among fellow teammates, friends, and peers. By putting in the effort to better explain the reason behind a decision, it helps to clear up confusion and opens doors to sharing the Gospel among those who need it. Let's look into this a little deeper to see how explaining the "WHY" can be so important.

    Explaining "WHY" you can't do something as a Child of God is important because

    It let's your teammates / friends know that they are not the reason you can't do something

    The reason we don't join in on ripping a teammate or trashing the locker room when everybody else is doing it is because we see the action as wrong, not the person. If we simply stopped at "NO" without explaining why we didn't do something, our teammates might get the impression that we didn't like them and that was the reason we didn't do it. As Christians, we are called to love our neighbor....even if they are our enemies. When you explain that you don't participate in certain behaviors because you want to obey God's commands, you show the other person that you love them, but not their actions. You can love the sinner, but not love their sin. We don't avoid bad situations because we don't like somebody. We avoid bad situations because we love God and want to do what He tells us is best for us. 

    Action Plan: "I'm sorry _name of other person_ that I can't do _activity_. It has nothing to do with you as my teammate and friend, but because I want to please God. This _activity_ would not help me to do that."

    It opens doors for the Gospel

    When you explain why you don't do a certain activity or behavior it is a natural way to share the Gospel and Biblical principles with a friend who may not know who Christ is. Many people will often say no to a teammate and leave it at that. Not only is your teammate wondering if you like him or not, but you have missed out on a great opportunity to explain some of your beliefs. Simply adding a "because" when you say no will allow you to share your faith in Christ with others in a non threatening way. Instead of forcing your thoughts and beliefs on your friends, you are able to talk about them in natural conversation. 

    Action Plan Example: "I'm sorry _name of person_. I can't take part in _activity_ BECAUSE _reason_

    Some example situations

    When pressured to put down others or use poor language
    You could say: "I really can't use those words BECAUSE the Bible tells me that I should only use words that build others up (Eph. 4:29). I enjoy being part of the team, but I need to stay faithful to what I believe.
    When asked to go drink or do drugs
    You might say: "I'm sorry, but I don't think that I can go with you guys. I want to make sure I take care of my body because I want to honor God by using it properly (1 Cor. 6:19-20) and those things would prevent me from doing that. Next time you are getting together to play video games let me know."
    When asked to look at something inappropriate
    You could say: "I love God over and above anything else and for me to look at that material would not be loving God but loving something else over him (Col. 3:5). For that reason, I am going to have to pass."
    The list could go on, but I hope that this helps you think about how you respond to difficult situations. In the hockey world, there is always an opportunity to share your faith.....you just have to take the opportunity when it presents itself.

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