The hardest thing we can do is to contradict the people we look up to – perhaps not in a small way, but when they are using the full force of their personality, their charisma, and their power of influence over us (be it harmful or benign), the hardest thing we can do is say no.
It’s a beautiful thing when we can trust, absolutely trust, that the people who have such influence over us would only ever use it in our best interests. But even so, unless those people are enlightened masters, there will come a time when even the healthiest of such people, the ones with the best intentions and the best boundaries will still fail us and direct us wrongly.
And it is all too common a thing to have such people in power over us – authority figures – who don’t have good boundaries or healthy lives or good intentions, and unfortunately that doesn’t make it easier to say no.
But we can. And we should. And Jesus did. He wasn’t mean. He wasn’t cruel. And he used it as an opportunity to teach his students – and one of them wrote it down, so we can learn it, too.