Book Review: Balcony People

Are you an encourager or an evaluator?  A cheerleader or a curmudgeon?  Are you a lifter or a destroyer?

A good friend gave me a copy of Balcony People by Joyce Heatherly.  This book is a great reminder of the choice we have with every word that we utter.  Are my words life-giving or life-destroying?  Heatherly talks about two kinds of people that everyone has in their life…basement people and balcony people.  Basement people are those people that are negative and tend to tear people down.  Balcony people are those that relish the opportunity to affirm and encourage others.  Every time we open our mouth, we have a choice to make.

The author encourages the reader to make a list of the balcony people in their life.  This is a pretty fun exercise if you are willing to take the time to really think about it.  Then, she asks you to go a step further and make a list of the people that you’d like to be a balcony person for.  If you are feeling particularly encouraging, let those people know that you desire to be a source of encouragement for them.  Let them know they can count on you!

The dear friend that gave me this book has certainly been a balcony person for me the past several years.  I’m grateful for her influence and investment in me as a leader.  I’m also reminded of what an incredible opportunity I have to be a balcony person for my husband, my daughter, my family, the teachers and staff that serve with me at NCCS, and the hundreds of middle and upper school students I have the privilege to serve each day.  I’m so glad I read this book prior to the start of the year.  My desire this year is to be a lifter!

Below I have listed several things that I highlighted while reading…

  • Affirming someone because we respect their human worth and personal dignity is a rare and lovely thing, but affirming someone because of the bond of God’s love between us is a downright marvelous experience!
  • We need to deal with our own brokenness in order to move out into the world as affirmers.
  • The need for affirming one another is crucial to our process of becoming real, not phony or hypocritical, people of God.  Affirming brings authenticity and credibility to our faith as it is lived day or day.
  • Let us ask Him to take our broken hearts and to press upon them further suffering to give us a poignant realization of the suffering of the world.  Let us ask Him to show us the endless, hopeless river of lost souls.  This will break our hearts anew; but when it happens, God can use us at last.
  • How do we become keenly attentive to each other?
  • How do we become really present to each other?
  • How do we relate to others so that it makes a difference?
  • Balcony people love from the heart.
  • If we love God, we will do whatever he tells us to.  And he has told us from the very first to love each other.  2 John 6
  • Don’t criticize and speak evil about each other, dear brothers.  If you do, you will be fighting against God’s law of loving one another. James 4:11
  • So get rid of your feelings of hatred.  Don’t just pretend to be good!  Be done with dishonesty and jealousy and talking about others behind their backs.  1 Peter 2:1
  • Show respect for everyone.  Love Christians everywhere.  1 Peter 2:17
  • Don’t just pretend that you love others: really love them.  Romans 12:9
  • Love each other with brotherly affection and take delight in honoring each other. Romans 12:10
  • Whatever you do, do it with kindness and love.  1 Corinthians 16:14
  • Balcony people listen from the heart.
  • Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.  Ephesians 4:2
  • Balcony people care from the heart.

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