Say the Right Thing: How Your Words Can Glorify God and Encourage Others – Carolyn Lacey

Say the Right Thing: How Your Words Can Glorify God and Encourage Others by Carolyn Lacey
Also by this author: Extraordinary Hospitality (for ordinary people)
Published by Good Book Company on April 1, 2023
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life

How the gospel can help you speak in a positive, constructive way.

Words are powerful. They sink deep into our minds and our spirits. They can build others up or put others down. Many of us want to “say the right thing” and make a difference to others with our words, but we don’t know how to. Others of us struggle to control our speech and want help to be more godly in this area of our lives.

This positive, constructive book delves into the Bible to show us how to overcome specific temptations, such as gossip or angry words. But it also goes much further. It shows us how we can use our speech to bring beauty, hope, truth, and comfort into the lives of those around us—and to give glory to God.

Full of gracious words and practical help, this book will help readers to find out how to let the gospel shape their speech and enjoy the blessings that flow from this.

Carolyn Lacey begins this book by acknowledging how often we all, herself included, struggle to say the right thing. She reflects that when she was growing up in church, teachings about the tongue tended to focus on what you shouldn’t say, without also training people to use their words in positive ways. This book provides a different perspective, focusing on different categories of speech that Christians can use to glorify God and build others up.

Say the Right Thing: How Your Words Can Glorify God and Encourage Others is short and highly readable. The chapters focus on the importance of wisdom, truth, beauty, comfort, kindness, hope, and praise in our speech, and Lacey shares stories and examples from the Bible and from modern life. She also includes direct examples of how people can use their speech to help and encourage others, and the chapter about offering comfort is particularly helpful, suggesting ways that Christians can connect with grieving and suffering people without relying on platitudes. Each chapter concludes with reflection questions that are appropriate for both individual processing and group discussion.

Say the Right Thing is a short, helpful book for Christians who want to use words in positive, restorative ways, although I wish it had gone deeper. A single book can’t possibly address every topic or situation regarding communication, but I wish that Lacey had included more principles about how to deal with high-stakes conversations, since people’s attempts at wise communication most often fall apart when they’re dealing with relational tensions, intense emotions, and difficult issues. Lacey doesn’t ignore this reality, but her treatment of it is fairly surface-level. This book is mainly about blessing and encouraging others, which is good, but I wish that it had gone further and deeper.