I have to give my sister credit for sharing this illustration with me. I think you will find it helpful as well. Our world has becoming increasingly critical. You can watch TV and see various “experts" argue about issues and become vicious. Putting someone down for children, teenagers, and adults has become an art form. You need to “diss" them before they “diss" you. Saying something kind is considered being weak. So, the question is are you a Balcony Person or a Basement Person? Do you as a Balcony Person lift up, encourage people, build them up, and bring them up? Or are you a Basement Person. Do you tear people down, criticize them, and critical of their actions. Which do you think is easiest to do? What does the world teach?
As Christians we are called to follow God's standard not the world's. Let's see what scripture says about our speech. Ephesians 4:29, 32 says the following: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you. " God calls us to be Balcony People, building others up according to their needs. I have heard this verse many times in my life, but something stood out to me this time in reading the verse. The verse says build others up according to their needs. To me this does not mean empty flattery, but really getting to know a person so you know what to say that can truly build them up. We can encourage them as they grow in Christ or as they grow in other areas of their lives. We can speak God's word to people and provide his comfort not our own.
I have some questions for you to consider. I have asked them of myself and honestly, I don't always like the answers.
1. In my work place am I the first one to be critical and find fault or do I try to find a solution?
2. Am I known as the office gossip?
3. Am I quick to judge others and be critical?
4. Do I purposely try to encourage my coworkers? Do I point out their good points?
5. As a parent, are my comments to my kids more negative than positive? Am I always on them?
6. As a parent, do I find opportunities to encourage and lift my children up?
7. As a Christian friend, am I quick to point out sin in other people's lives or do I encourage them as a fellow sister in Christ?
8. How would others describe me? Am I a Balcony person or a Basement person?
9. Am I encouraging my children to choose to be Balcony person's according to Scripture?
10. Are my children's friends Balcony or Basement people? Remember our children are greatly affected by their peers.
The pull of the world is strong. The world says beat people to the put down. Only weak people say kind things to others. You don't want to be perceived as “brown nosing". The bottom line is as Christians our guidebook is the Bible and the Bible is clear about how we are to interact with others. We are to build them up and not tear them down. Our sinful nature is quick to judge. As Christians, we are new creatures in Christ. We are called saints in Ephesians. Only with God's power and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit can we change our selfish nature to one that is of Christ. So, can I encourage you to rely on the power of God to transform you to a Balcony person and bring those around you up to see the view. Not in a high and mighty fashion, but for us to see others as God's holy creation. We are created in his likeness. So, when we put down others we are literally putting down God.
May we all strive to become more like Christ and lift others up.
Kimberly M. Chastain, MS, LMFT is the Christian Working Mom Coach and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She is the author of 2 ebooks, Pearls of Encouragement for Christian Working Moms and Help! My Preteen/Teenager is Driving me Nuts. You can find both of those books at http://www.christianworkingmom.com - Also, check out her blog and Online Bible Study as well. You can have coaching tips delivered to your email box daily, find out more at http://www.kimberlychastain.com/cwmtips.htm