I have a pastor buddy who gave me a book when I was just coming back to church after a 25-year absence. Apparently, I needed some help not being so judgmental; the book was called Balcony People by Joyce Landorf Heatherly. Here is how the book is described on Amazon:

There are some people in the “balconies” of our lives who cheer us on, energizing us by their warm affirmations. There are others who live down in the “basement” coldly tearing away at our souls with their unfair and critical judgments.

I have to admit that my friend was right – I can be extraordinarily judgmental. It’s more of a learned behavior than anything; I grew up in a very judgmental environment and learned at an early age that you judge everything by its performance, good or bad.

I read that book about 13 years ago and I have to say it really opened my eyes to not only my habitual judgmentalness but that of those around me. Since reading that book, I’ve worked very hard on controlling myself and trying to become a balcony person instead. I find encouraging people feeds the soul so much more than tearing people down!

After scrolling through my Facebook feed this morning I’ve come to the conclusion that Balcony People should be required reading for everyone – period! Man, there are a lot of haters out there!

I’m not talking about those on your feed who simply have a different opinion from yours: I think that is just good discussion. The posts to which I am referring are the ones that go that extra step to degrade, make fun of, label, call names, disparage, and tear down others. The kind of vitriol that is hateful, disrespectful, and even lacks honesty and integrity – that is what discourages me about social media and our culture in general. It’s okay and even expected to spew this kind of garbage which we euphemistically call “trash talk” or in politics, “debate.”

No, it’s neither. It’s basement people tearing others down in an attempt to lift themselves up, which we all know never works.

So, I’m going to keep it short today and suggest two things:

  1. Consider becoming a balcony person in all you do. If you post on social media, make it all encouraging and uplifting. Do the same in your personal relationships. Fill your speech with affirmation for others instead of judgment – remember, Jesus is going to hold you to account for every word that comes out of your mouth…or the ends of your fingers!
  2. When you see “basement” comments on social media, think about how you would repost the comment in a “balcony” way. In other words, learn to disagree in an agreeable way.

Oh, one more thing: Pray for the haters and basement people. God can change their hearts – I’m proof of that!

May God bless and keep you on this wonderful day!