Now I know many guys, not just girls read this blog (thank you fellas for being as dedicated as the ladies). The topic of sexting is a popular one these days, and I thought it would be beneficial to discuss it under a Christian light.
First of all, I give you all credit when it comes to trying to navigate this virtual world and all the temptations it comes with. When I was a teenager we were just starting to use text messages, they would cost $0.10 per message (crazy! I know). So picture messages were not really popular yet. Snapchat did not exist along with all the well-known social media apps that we have today. So the temptation of sending nudes wasn’t as easy and common as it is today. Imagine this, back in the day people had to use a disposable camera and most likely take it to the nearest drugstore to have their pictures printed. So if you wanted to send someone an inappropriate picture you had to go through a whole lot of trouble to do so. It wasn’t worth it then, and it’s still not worth it today!
I once read somewhere in a Chicken Soup For the Teenage Soul book something along the lines of, “Never do something where the risk is greater than the reward.” So let’s examine the scenario of sexting.
What is the risk? You never truly know what someone will do with the image you send them, no matter how much they promise they will only keep it to themselves. You never know when someone has a change of heart what they will do with that image. You give up any control over that content once you share it with someone else. You have now risked your private photo getting leaked to the general public, and worst of all to people you know. Those are the people you have to look in the eye every day, and now you’re wondering if they still hold the same respect for you as before. As much as I am a proponent of respecting and loving everyone regardless of their actions and never judging them, in reality that is not how most people are. Ill-willed people, especially teenagers, can be harsh. They will use your weakness to bully you and make you feel inferior to them. I hope you never become one of those people, but I generally want you to protect yourself from those kinds of people by not giving them a reason to publicly humiliate you.
Now, what is the reward? Maybe someone is impressed with your physical appearance and compliments you and gives you a temporary boost of confidence. Maybe that person sends you something back and you’re temporarily satisfied. Maybe it helps you win over someone you had a crush on and you have a temporary relationship (but do you really want that to be the foundation of your relationship?). Notice a common theme here? All these rewards are temporary. But you know what’s not temporary? That picture you sent of yourself! Even on the apps like Snapchat, anyone can take a screenshot of your “temporary” photo and save for however long they please. So, do all these rewards sound like they are greater than the risks involved? I’ll let you answer that one, since I’m pretty sure you know what I would say.
Please stop sending nudes in general, and especially unsolicited ones! There is absolutely no need to share anything inappropriate with anyone. And don't ever let anyone pressure you into sending something you don't want to send. Stand firm with your boundaries, you are strong enough to stand up for yourself.
As Christian brothers and sisters we should be looking out for one another, strengthening one another in our walk with Christ, not doing the exact opposite with trying to make each other fall. I know how hard it is to resist satisfying our fleshly desires, trust me I know, even though I’ve never faced this issue I’ve faced things that were just as real. Control your hormones and desires, don’t let them control you!
St. Paul tells us, “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6: 18-20).
Guys, sexting is the opposite of glorifying God in our bodies and spirits. Sexting does not only come with spiritual repercussions, but social ones as well. Respect the sanctity of your body and of the spiritual life of the person you are sharing these images with. You are mistaken if you think you’ve only compromised yourself, when in fact you might have also caused the recipient of these images to fall into temptation and you just made things super awkward when you see each other.
If you’re really that proud of the way God made you, or the hard work you’ve put into looking fit, then great. Thank God for what He’s given you or allowed you to accomplish, but that’s for your eyes only. If you’re sending these pictures, ask yourself, why am I doing it? If the answer is you’re looking for attention and are lacking self-love, self-worth, or self-esteem, then please tune in the next few weeks for a series all about those topics.
A three week series is coming soon on the following topics.