By Lance Cordle
Like many people, I read the news headlines and follow interesting stories. Recently, two events caught my attention. The contexts of these stories do not involve situations or activities in which I would choose to participate. However, they illustrate the very powerful potential of a choice we all make at many times in our lives.
In early April, 2023, the news broke that a large international brewing company sought to make more money by partnering with a popular social media influencer. Big news, right? A company tries to expand its business base by appealing to a certain segment of the population. That is what business does. The bottom line is the bottom line. Only this time, the company had picked someone whose lifestyle and story conflicted with the beliefs of millions of its other customers. Those other customers reacted in a way customers have the right to react: they stopped buying the product. It is estimated that the company lost billions of dollars because the offended customers rejected the promotional activities of the company (i.e., they said, “No”). Say what you will about the controversy and about the company recovering the losses, the people realized their power and exercised it.
In late April, 2023, Jerry Springer died. He was a lawyer, mayor, television anchor, but best known as a talk show host of the 1980’s and ‘90’s. But his talk show set a (low) standard of content for years to come. He brought in people whose lives were filled with bad and sinful choices. They were then put on display in order to give people topics for discussion. The show caused many people to worry about our country (and rightly so). However, Jerry Springer said that he knew many people did not like the show and disagreed with its presentation. So, he said, people had the remote in their hands and they could change the channel (i.e., they could say “No”). Unfortunately, not enough people did, because it stayed on for a long time—but, the power was there.
Long before business schemes and television shows, God knew the power of saying “No.” He told Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). Eight of the “Ten Commandments,” contained the concept of “You shall not” (Exodus 20:3-17). When Jesus faced the temptations of Satan, two of his three answers contained the words, “shall not” (Matthew 4:1-10).
We know the power of “No”—Let’s use it!