Christian who is discouraged or depressed? Do not feel that you must fix the problem. In many cases, simple words are often the most helpful. Assure the downhearted person of your care and concern. Offer to pray aloud with the discouraged one; you can beseech Jehovah to help that one to know how much he or she is loved by others and by God. (James 5:14, 15) Reassure him that he is needed and valued as a member of the congregation. (1 Corinthians 12:12-26) Read an encouraging Bible verse to assure him that Jehovah truly cares about him as an individual. (Psalm 34:18; Matthew 10:29-31) Taking ample time to share “a good word” with the despondent one and speaking from your heart will no doubt help him to feel loved and appreciated.—Read Proverbs 12:25.
20, 21. What factors make counsel effective?
20 Effective counsel. As imperfect creatures, we all need to receive counsel from time to time. The Bible encourages us: “Listen to counsel and accept discipline, in order to become wise in your future.” (Proverbs 19:20) Giving counsel to others is not limited to the elders. Parents counsel children. (Ephesians 6:4) Mature sisters may need to offer counsel to younger women. (Titus 2:3-5) Love for others moves us to want to give counsel that the recipient can accept without feeling crushed. What can help us to give such counsel? Consider three factors that make counsel more effective: the attitude and motive of the counselor, the basis for the counsel, and the manner in which it is given.
21 Effective counsel starts with the counselor. Ask yourself, ‘When is counsel easy for me to accept?’ When you know that the one counseling you cares about you, is not speaking out of personal frustration, and has no ulterior motives, the counsel is easier to accept. So when you counsel others, should not the same things be true of your attitude and motive? Successful counsel is also based on God’s Word. (2 Timothy 3:16) Whether directly quoting from the Bible or not, we should have a Scriptural basis for any counsel we give. Thus, elders are careful not to impose their own views on others; neither do they bend or twist the Scriptures, making it seem that the Bible supports some personal view. Counsel is also more effective if it is delivered in the right manner. Counsel that is salted with kindness is easier to accept and lets the one receiving it keep his dignity.—Colossians 4:6.
22. What is your determination regarding the use of the gift of speech?
22 To be sure, speech is a precious gift from God. Our love for Jehovah should move us to use, not misuse, this gift. Let us remember that the words we speak to others have power—the power to build up or to tear down. Let us, then, strive to use this gift as the Giver intended—“for building up.” Our speech will thus be a blessing to those around us and will help us to remain in God’s love.