I believe the most difficult word to say--at least for many of us--is no. Why is this short little word so difficult to speak? Let us consider four types of situations at this time.
1. IT IS DIFFICULT TO SAY "NO" TO TEMPTATIONS.
Regardless of one's age, there are always temptations. Children are tempted to lie. Teenagers are tempted to steal and fornicate. Adults are tempted to put more emphasis on their careers and the accumulation of worldly things than the Lord's kingdom. The elderly are tempted to abandon their faith because of struggles with health, etc. Such temptations are common, but God will not allow anyone to be tempted beyond that which he is able to endure (I Cor. 10:13). God will provide a way of escape, but one must be willing to look for it and accept it.
It is difficult, but not impossible to say "no" to temptations. One must refuse to be "drawn away by his own desires and enticed" (James 1:14).
2. IT IS DIFFICULT TO SAY "NO" TO THOSE WHO PRAISE YOU.
The root element here is our pride. Let's face it, it is natural to want to please others or seek their approval, and there is nothing intrinsically wrong with such, as long as one does not compromise with error in so doing. Paul wrote of the importance of considering others as better than ourselves (Phil. 2:3,4). But, he also warned of the danger in pleasing others as opposed to pleasing God (Gal. 1:10). Ideally, when we can please others and God, we should do so. However, if only one party can be pleased, let us make sure that it is the Lord and not ourselves or others.
Sometimes one must say "no" --even to those he wants to please and to those who compliment him. There are only so many hours in each day. A good servant of the Lord will be a faithful steward of his time. This demands saying "no" to certain requests. Such is difficult but not impossible.
3. IT IS DIFFICULT TO SAY "NO" REPEATEDLY.
It is easy to say "no" to some people once or twice, but sometimes after being repeatedly asked to do something, we give in--just to appease the person. This is not always wrong, although it can be (as in the case of Samson and Delilah, for example, Judges 16:4ff). She wore him down with her repeated inquiries as to the source of his strength. He essentially kept telling her "no" with his various lies. Although he was a physically strong man, his self-control and mental perseverance were weak.
Sometimes one must ask something repeatedly in order to get the desired answer (e.g., Luke 18:5). However, when we find ourselves being repeatedly asked to do something that is wrong, even after giving a "no" answer, we must not give in. This may be difficult but not impossible. Of course, if the matter one is being badgered about is not a matter of right and wrong, sometimes giving in may be the most expedient course of action.
4. IT IS DIFFICULT TO SAY "NO" TO THAT WHICH APPEARS TO BE URGENT.
This is a most challenging struggle for many--distinguishing between that which is genuinely urgent and that which merely appears to be urgent. Ultimately, the distinction will boil down to one's priorities. The only items that are truly urgent are the ones that will matter a hundred years from now. Physical matters that regularly command our attention seem to be important but rarely are in the overall scheme of things. Spiritual matters that easily get pushed to the sidelines are the truly urgent issues of life. It is difficult but not impossible to focus one's time and attention to that which is truly urgent and important. Remembering what really matters in life will help us to be able to say "no" to those issues that only appear to be urgent.
Friends, is the word no the most difficult word for you to say?