There are some negative acts that seldom make it to the homilies. I wonder why. Perhaps because like everything else, sin and evil is evolving, and preachers find it most difficult to catch up. Oh yes! Everyone and everything is on the move. We talk about fornication and adultery.

We talk about rape and abortion. We talk about stealing, murder, armed robbery, kidnapping and all the other things we consider to be very grave. But we don’t talk much about sins like sexting. Why? Because many preachers have no idea what it means in the first place.

The other day I wrote a reflection and I mentioned ‘sexting’, and my friends were like, ‘What?’ What in heaven’s name is that? It’s true they don’t know what it’s called. But there’s a 70% chance that some would have tried it at one time or the other.

The very nature of sin suggests that it begins from temptation; then a process of active thought (where one considers whether or not to act), before action (which could be committing the particular sin, or deciding against it). This is true of every evil action (except in cases where the actor is insane or incapable of culpability (blame). These conditions are true also of sexting. It must be a sin then. Right? Absolutely!

According to Wikipedia, ‘sexting’ “is sending and receiving sexually explicit messages, primarily between mobile phones. The term was first popularized in the early 21st century…In August 2012, the word sexting was listed for the first time in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.” See? Sexting is a known word; a dictionary word. Gotcha!

With the increase in the availability and use of Smartphones, particularly among young people, and the emergence of social media (like Facebook) and other networking apps (like Black Berry Messenger and WhatsApp), sexting is on the increase. Sexting is a combination of sex and text. It’s not just about texting, it about texting in such a way as to induce the other party to react in a certain sexual way. It’s a form of emotional abuse.

Let’s try to bring the matter closer home. Have you ever sent a naked or semi naked picture of yourself to someone else, or posted same on social media? Have you condoned it when someone else tried to initiate it with you? What about writing sexually explicit messages? Things you would not dare say with your mouth if you were with the person face to face? Things that could lead the other person to temptation and sin? If your answer is ‘Yes’ to any of these questions, then you’ve ‘checked’. Sexting is not strange to you.

Many times, we fail to see the evil that sexting can engender. The other day I saw a movie (can’t remember the title) that was about a young boy who was deceived by a friend (another boy) into sending him a nude picture of himself. This young boy (sender) actually thought his friend (receiver) was a lady. But unknown to the sender, the receiver was another boy like himself, posing as a young lady. This boy (receiver) went ahead and published the naked picture of the sender on the school notice board.

Now, imagine what the sender felt when he came to school on Monday morning and found pictures of himself pasted on the school notice board. He went back home and committed suicide. The movie was based on a true life story. How sad!

Other examples abound. We find many nude pictures of young unsuspecting ladies on social media, uploaded by jealous boyfriends to spite them. What about the emotional blackmail that could result from a partner of a particular relationship now gone bad?

Again, what about the privacy concern? Do you seriously think these chats and pictures are private? Think again. How many of us even bother to read the disclaimer on many of these apps? They don’t accept responsibility for anything (pictures or messages) that may get leaked on social media or any other platform. And nothing guarantees that your so called chats and pictures are private.

Friends, when next someone begins to ask you funny questions like, ‘what are you wearing now?’, can you send me a picture of you?’ Or say things like, ‘You make me higher than mount Everest’, ‘say something dirty to me’, ‘Send me a picture of your beautiful body,’ etc, block that person. You heard me right o. Block the person once and for all. Don’t play around with fire. The devil is a Chess Master.

It’s not normal, I repeat, it’s not normal for someone to be interested in pictures of your undies or panties, or nighties. It’s not natural for someone you barely know to request pictures of your body parts, or begin to say things to you that make your senses tingle. It’s not normal for anyone to ask you to do things or say things you’d naturally not do and say if you were meeting each other face to face.

We must begin to preach against these things as well. It’s a great evil. Sexting has led to pornography, masturbation, fornication, adultery, and in extreme cases, rape. Make no mistakes about it. Tell someone today. It’s a worthy enough sin to make it to our homilies. Preachers beware!

God bless you!

© Oselumhense Anetor, 2016.