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Keith Miller, in his book Passionate People, which he co-authored with Bruce Larson, describes two kinds of people -- "basement people" and "balcony people."

"Basement people" are the discouragers in our lives. They may be people from our past, or present, but their words go with us everywhere we go. They are the negative influences in our lives and their words go something like this: "You can't do that." "That's a stupid thing to do." "When are you going to get it right?" "You will never get it right." "You will never amount to anything." Basement people divert us from our hopes and dreams. They constantly point out what is wrong, rather than what is right with us. Basement people cause a room to light up when they leave.

In contrast to them are the "Balcony People." They are people who are full of love and cheer us on. They encourage us to be loving, courageous followers of Christ. They sit in the balcony of our lives like a heavenly cheering section, saying, "You can do it." "We believe in you." "You are special to us." Balcony people are the great encouragers in our lives and we all need them!

The question for all of us is who will we be? Will we be basement people or balcony people? The choice is ours to make. Balcony people try to lift people up to where they are, but basement people try to drag people down where they are.

There is no question who God wants us to be. He wants us to be balcony people, and He will help us to be balcony people.

(From a sermon by David Owens, Encourage One Another, 11/3/2009)

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