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Want to be an Encourager? Here’s How!

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
Want to learn to speak edifying words? Read some practical suggestions for building others up.

Family Counseling Ministries   -

In the final article of a four-part series on the power of edifying speech, Dr. Don Dunlap discusses six practical suggestions for speaking edifying words. He urges readers to dedicate their speech to God, to read His Word daily, to assume responsibility for every word, and to become accountable to others for their speech.

God issues His children a stern warning in Psalm 34:13,

Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit.

Katie, a woman in our church, had repented before God for failing to guard her tongue. She made a list of people that she had offended by gossiping, criticizing, backbiting, and lying. She sought each of them out individually, and asked their forgiveness for the harm that she had done.

As Katie and I met together for several more weeks, we studied these practical suggestions for how to speak edifying words.

1.      Daily dedicate your heart and speech to God.

Ask the Holy Spirit to prompt you each time you are tempted to use your tongue foolishly or sinfully. Memorize Romans 12:1, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice…”

2.      Read the Bible daily, to put your heart in tune with God.

God’s Word is the Bread of Life for believers. Memorize Psalm 119:9,13, How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your Word. With my lips I have told of all the ordinances of Your mouth.”

3.      Assume responsibility for every word that you speak.

The book of James describes the tongue as a restless evil, full of deadly poison. Be aware of the damage that an unruly tongue can do. Memorize Matthew 12:36, 37, “I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.”

4.      Submit yourself to the scrutiny of others. Ask trusted friends to tell you when you speak offensively.

The writer of Proverbs 27:6 reminds us that the wounds of a friend are faithful, but the kisses and flattery of an enemy are deceitful. Genuine friends speak the truth in love to us, and sharpen our testimony for Christ. Memorize Proverbs 17:10, “A rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.”

5.      Repent to God and others when you misuse your tongue.

Heed the command of Matthew 5:23,24. “If, therefore, you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go our way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.”

6.      Strive to speak words that encourage, comfort, build up, inspire, challenge, and edify.

God wants us to stimulate our brothers and sisters in Christ, to love and good deeds. Praise them for their strengths. Commend them when they boldly take a stand for Christ. Point out their positive character traits. Verbally affirm the qualities that you appreciate in their lives. Listen to them attentively when they speak, and purpose never to interrupt them.


Ask God for the wisdom to discern when they are discouraged and downhearted. Tell them that you are praying specifically that God will encourage their heart. Make a special effort to serve them and to uplift them during those times.


Memorize Philippians 4:8 and apply it to all your speech. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”


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