Balcony or Basement: The Way We Speak

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Balcony or Basement: The Way We Speak


I interact with countless people everyday. Students, parents, colleagues, my own children, my husband, the cashier in the grocery store.

And everyday I have a choice to make.

Balcony or basement?

Will my response lift someone up or pull them down?

So many times a day, a look, a smile or frown, or an answer empowers me. I often don’t even realize that what I say and do will affect those around me. Oh, I get the big stuff – the compliment, the insult, the sarcasm.

But the offhand response – or the lack of it – can carry meaning, too. King Solomon wrote, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21).

And all too often, I’m not on the balcony or in the basement, I’m just camping out on the landing. By myself, probably looking in the mirror, thinking about me.

That’s when I let the opportunity to praise someone pass me by.

Take an extra second today and consider your response. Can you give the grumpy cashier a smile or offer to bag those groceries yourself? Can you thank your child for doing what he’s supposed to do? There’s nothing wrong with expressing gratefulness for others’ faithfulness. In fact, as we acknowledge the faithfulness of others and our need of and appreciation for it, we signal grace to those around us.

“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Prov. 6:24).

So join me as I step off the landing. I have a bit of climbing to do.

But I’ll try to season each step with gracious words.


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