Tag Archive | Ephesians 4:29

Filters and fiery darts

What do filters have to do with fiery darts? Well, recently it has come to my attention that there is a distinct relationship between the use of filters regarding fiery darts. How we process the thoughts that are formed in our minds before they take the form of the spoken word relies on what we use to filter those words. Likewise, how we process those spoken words relies on what we use to filter those words as we ponder how to receive them.

How we use our words or how we receive words depends on the filters through which they pass. As it applies to this post, a filter is what we use to recognize fiery darts so that we can reject them and replace them with truth thoughts.

Allow me to illustrate

Negative teasing when passed through the filter, ‘I don’t really mean that, I’m just teasing,’ justifies the tearing down of another. However, when using the filter of Scripture we are instructed to make sure that what comes out of our mouths should build up our listener/s in that particular situation. Therefore, our words should benefit those who are listening.

Let no corrupting talk (some translations use course jesting) come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29 ESV

Take another example.

I’m 73 years old and the other day a loved one said to me, “Janet, you are beginning to look your age.” Their filter allowed them to express the first thought that came to their mind in expressing their concern for the stress I was under. However, if they had been familiar with the following verse (filter) they would have reconsidered that initial thought. Seasoning it with graciousness. (“Did I look that bad!”)

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Colossians 4:6 ESV

Ever heard of the word, hijacking

as it applies to conversations? Someone is talking and what they says sparks a memory. We can hardly wait for them to pause so we can interject our thought. Sometimes we don’t even wait for a pause, we just blurt it out. That’s hijacking a conversation. What’s happening here is we are not really listening to the other person. We are not thinking about what they are saying. Scripture has a very effective filter for this problem (that often we aren’t even aware we are guilty of it).

“With humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves…” Philippians 2:3

Additionally, James 1:9a, ‘be quick to hear, slow to speak…‘ exhorts us to focus on what the speaker is saying and give them our full attention.

The Scriptures are designed to filter our words, thoughts, and actions. Just the ammunition needed to extinguish fiery darts!

Making Memories!

So, to recap my last two posts on Negative Teasing, the fiery dart is:

It’s okay to make put down statements about someone as long as you are teasing!

 The verse to counter this lie is:

 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

 And remember, you can tease someone in a fun way without it being negative.  Just ask yourself this question, “Will what I want to say benefit or  build up the hearer?”  Remember now, just because what you are saying makes them laugh doesn’t mean it’s wholesome talk!


Memories happen with the living of life obviously, and if you are not careful you will live your whole life overlooking the importance of being deliberate about making memories. Consider this:  fiery darts are subtle lies that on the one hand contain common sense truths, that when examined from a Christian worldview, turn out to be nothing short of a lie.  Therefore, when you think about making memories the fiery darts you may have to deal with may go something like this:

Making memories means taking vacations; something our family just can’t afford!  Besides even if we could afford it we don’t have the time!

Yes, times are hard and vacations figure way down on the priority list when it comes to deciding how to manage our income.  The fiery dart here is that vacations are not a priority.  So we give up the opportunity to spend time together as a family, away from the demands of our daily routines.   Fiery dart thinking in this case is designed to keep hidden from us the value of drawing away from our daily grind to experience the healing and rejuvenation that this venue provides in making memories.

Therefore, time and money, are prime sources to spawn a fiery dart when you are contemplating taking your family on vacation.  It takes a great deal of strength to resist the fiery dart that you don’t have the time to go on vacation. Therefore, it’s vital to the well being of your family to recognize this temptation for the fiery dart that it is.

We have only to examine the life of Jesus to understand the value of drawing apart from the world in order to spend time with those you love.  He did this with his disciples and most importantly with His Father.  We should do no less with our own families.

But realistically, full-blown vacations for some of you are beyond your resources.  So what are you to do about spending time together to add to your store of  memories with the family?

If taking a full blown vacation is out of the question, then get creative and plan inexpensive events with the expressed purpose of spending time focused time together.  You don’t even have to spend money, or at least very little money.  There’s parks nearly everywhere and they are free.  Pack a picnic lunch and a blanket, maybe a ball and bat or frisbee, some good reading material, music cd’s, the kids favorite toys, or bikes  whatever suits your fancy and go enjoy some quality time with your family.  And, oh yeah, make it a practice to do this ever so often.  You’ll be so glad you did, especially when you get together in days to come and discover that you have a large store of memories to draw from.

The previous is just one idea, but I’m sure that if you put your mind to it, you’ll come up with an abundance of ways to spend some special times with your family and make those wonderful memories.  Remember, these events should be designed to not only give your family time to spend with each other, but that time should be focused time.

Hey, I just had a great idea!  Why don’t you send me your creative ideas for family outings.  I’ll post them so we can get ideas from each other! And, of course, share the fiery darts that interfered with your family outing plans.  We all need ideas on how to overcome those menacing temptations.  

Be prepared though for those fiery darts that will mess with your plans.

This isn’t the time to deal with “stuff”. (Stuff should be dealt with, just not  during your making memories time!)

Also, you’ll be tempted to include activities that having nothing to do with your little vacation-like time.  (Remember, your family should have your undivided attention during these times!)

Let’s review the fiery darts of making memories:

  • Making memories means taking vacations and we can’t afford them.  (If that’s how you define making memories then you’ve just been sacked by a fiery dart thought!)

  • We don’t have time to take a family outing. (But you do have time to deal with the issues, conflicts, and stresses that being too busy creates?)

  • I’m not sure my family would think that taking a family outing would be much fun.  (Sure, if this isn’t something you do very often.  But the more you do it and the more careful you are about planning them, then the more fun they’ll become!)

Undeniably, making memories can certainly be enriched by enjoying focused time together either during a vacation or a family outing.  But as we are always fashioning memories by just living life, next post I would like to address a more common aspect of memory making. 

Why the big deal about negative teasing?

No matter how hard you may laugh, at some level negative teasing inflicts pain!

You may think, “Oh, that’s not enough pain to pay any attention to!”  Oh really!  So you are saying that it’s okay to inflict pain if it’s minuscule?  But is that the focus you should have?  May I remind you of the verse about coarse jesting?

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

Our homes should be the safest place on earth when it comes to the development of our personhood.  We should never have to fear being attacked by those who are suppose to love us the most.  So, with all the emphasis on feeling good about yourself, and maintaining a positive self-image why do we put up with negative teasing, I ask you?  I go back to the influence of media such as tv and/or movies.  If you allow yourself or your children to be overly exposed to the negative humor that saturates most of the shows, then you and your children will be spouting out negative phrases before you realize it!  To avoid this:


How is that done?  Consider the following:

1.  All you have to do is make wiser choices about what you watch and what you allow your children to watch.  Thankfully, there are options even on tv and the movies that have a more positive influence on the way we and our children can be influenced to interact with others.  

2.  Fill your minds with words from Scripture.  Like Ephesians 4:29 (to begin with)!  Make it a habit to memorize Scripture and model this habit for your children.  

3.  Post verses that you have written on cards and display them around the house.

4.  Make Scripture an integral part of your family’s daily experience.  Insert Scripture whenever you can to apply to a situation.  For instance, every child’s name means something and particular verses can be ascribed to enhance that meaning.  This might give a child an extra motivation to exhibit actions that live up to their name’s meaning.  

Consider calling upon Scripture to meet the need of the moment such as when your child is afraid, like the following: Psalm 56:3, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.”

5.  Instill in your children the importance of personal devotions.  And remember, the most effective method of teaching our children to have a time of personal devotion is to model this behavior for them!

6.  Be wise in choosing the music you listen to and what you allow your children to listen to. Never underestimate the influence of music. And listen to the lyrics.  (Google the lyrics to the songs, if you can’t understand them!)  If you find something troubling, then Parent’s do something about it.  BTW, if your child is making good choices about the music they are listening to, then by all means, praise them for it!

7.  Encourage your children to hide God’s Word in their hearts.  Get them involved in Bible study and Bible drills.  Do you want your child to be wise and strong of mind?  The absolute best source for that is The Bible, parent!

I think this is a good enough start.  So take it from here and run with it.  I’m confident I have not exhausted all the possibilities of ways to fill your minds and your children’s minds with positive thinking so that the overflow will  also be positive.

And a final word here.  

Always remember, as life happens in your family, memories are being made. Verbal interaction should always be laced with grace.  So be deliberate about making positive memories and minimizing the negative.  The reward for your diligence will provide your family with sweet reminiscing during those family get togethers in the days to come.

The Fiery Darts of Parenting Series – Negative Teasing!

Because my book only contains two areas of application (marriage and adolescence) where fiery darts are concerned, I am being impressed to include a series of posts having to do with the application of how to fight the fiery darts encountered in parenting!  Up until now, the theme of my blogs have been a bit random.  Well, maybe not a bit but a whole lot random.  It was suggested to me way back when I began blogging to do something like I am now attempting, but it just never happened.  So, here goes people.  As always, I welcome and appreciate your feedback.


Oh, mom, I was only teasing!  You know I don’t really mean that!  Lighten up, we were only having fun.  

Are you kidding me? !  Since when has it been okay to put someone down or say all manner of false things about them as long as you say it in a kidding way?  Since our day, that’s when.  And may I be more specific here–since our kids (and us adults) have been exposed to a steady diet of negative teasing disguised as humor on almost any sitcom you care to watch.  TV and movies are masters (and I emphasize the word, ‘masters’) at this type of negative humor and the power of their influence can be seen and felt whenever a group of people are hanging out together. (It makes me sad to write that!) 

Given the fallen nature of man, we shouldn’t be surprised that we have succumbed to thinking that humor is a lot more funny if the words we use are negative!  And while I’m not surprised that people who reject Christ and His teachings have embraced this type of humor, it bothers me DEEPLY that Christians have bought into this LIE! (I’m just calling it like I see it folks)  Actually, it’s one of the most popular and successful fiery darts in use today! Um!

I was disturbed about this when my own children were small.  So much so that I became very selective about what they watched on tv and videos (no dvd’s back then) and I limited their amount of exposure to both.  That’s when the family rule, NO NEGATIVE TEASING, came to be established.

Here’s an example of it’s early beginnings.  When anger is being expressed, it’s only natural to verbally express that anger.  Right?  And you can’t use just any words!  It has to be words that pack a punch!  So, whenever my children expressed anger in the midst of some conflict they were having with each other, out would come those words that had been sitting there in their minds just waiting for the opportunity to be released!  It would be at times such as these that they would hear me say something like the following:

  “Your sister (or brother) has a perfectly good name.  You will use that name when addressing each other.”

My children figured out that they could get away with using hurtful or negative words as long as they cloaked it in humor.  (Do you suppose the idea originated with Mary Poppins?  You know, “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down! There goes that fallen nature again, taking a good idea and perverting it!)

Well, just like Barney Fife, I nipped that negative teasing in the bud!  Whenever, I heard negative teasing disrupting the peace of our home, I countered with what became a very familiar phrase around our house,

“That’s negative teasing!”

It worked pretty good, I’m pleased to say.  And you can be sure that as my children grew older and wiser, they wouldn’t hesitate to call their father or I down when they heard either one of us violate the family rule!  (Parent’s struggle with that ole fallen nature too, you know! Not an excuse; just stating a fact:(  My children held my feet to the fire on that WHENEVER they had the opportunity.  (Don’t you just love the accountability factor that can prevail in a family!)

Actually, it’s all about making memories (which I’ll cover in another post).  I was keenly aware that my children would be making all sorts of memories as they grew up in our home.  I was determined and deliberate that most of those memories would be positive.  Therefore, negative teasing had no place in our home.  And apparently, God agreed!  Note the following verse:

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

Taking this verse to heart then we will examine the words that are coming out of our mouths either in anger or in jest and if those words don’t build up those who are listening to us according to their needs, then we need to zip it! And keep it zipped until we have determined what our hearers need to hear and thereafter, fashion our words accordingly.  Good idea?