Words of encouragement can be “life words,” bringing new motivation to our lives. Mark Twain said that he could live for a whole month on one good compliment!

Christian encouragement, however, is more than a compliment or a pat on the back, valuable as these can be. One writer described it as “the kind of expression that helps someone want to be a better Christian, even when life is rough.”

As a youth, Larry Crabb had developed a stutter that humiliated him in a school assembly. A short time later when praying aloud in a church service, his stutter caused him to get both his words and his theology mixed up in his prayer. Expecting stern correction, Larry slipped out of the service, resolving never to speak in public again. On his way out he was stopped by an older man who said, “Larry, there’s one thing I want you to know. Whatever you do for the Lord, I’m behind you one thousand percent.” Larry’s resolve never again to speak publicly weakened instantly. Now, many years later, he addresses large crowds without stuttering.

Paul told us to season our speech “with grace” so that we may know how to answer others (Col. 4:6). Then we will speak “life words” that bring encouragement.