“It’s not what you said, it’s how you said it.” If I had a quarter for every time that my dad said that phrase to me growing up, I would probably own a few houses outright. Life is full of words. We speak, type, write, think, and even dream words constantly. The way that we use our words matters deeply for Christians. Pastors Mark Hallock and Scott Iken offer life giving advice and counsel in their short book, The Relentless Encourager: Bringing Life to Others through What We Say.
These two men, as pastors, have been around words that wound and destroy and heal and build. The beauty of the book is that the biblical theology and foundation laid out in the first half comes to fruition in all their application points in the second half of the book. No magic program or book exists that will change how we communicate, but the authors point to Jesus, Who is the One who changes hearts and therefore will change the words that proceed from our mouths.
The book stays true to mission by emphasizing that Christians need to be intentional with their words to encourage and build others up. Hallock and Iken take us from the corrupt ways our words are often used to how we should use our words. Most people would admit that they would want their communication to be more helpful than hurtful. The question, though, is how we move from destructive communication to an encouraging lifestyle. In the second half of the book the practical steps that are laid out help Christians move toward being more like Barnabas and encouraging relentlessly.
This is a quick and helpful guide for every church member. If you or someone you know struggles with gossip or quick harsh responses, this book should be on the “must read” list. It lays out biblical truth without being overbearing or too technical to grasp. This book is also helpful for those that want to be more purposeful in encouraging others. It may be easy not to say anything, but Christians are called to speak in a way that honors God and edifies others. This book will help in both (and more) ways.
Review by Caleb Nedimyer