FAMILY MATTERS with PASTOR CHANDA
THURSDAY, April 2, 2015: My fellow elder came to see me. He looked very disturbed. Someone had given him a lost phone at church.
He had tried to locate the owner by looking through it and was shocked out of his socks by some of the messages he found on it.
He showed me what was on the phone. There were sexually explicit photos and messages sent the previous night. Reading a few of them was poison to the soul. How could people send each other such messages without realising that they were playing with fire?
I looked at the time when most of the messages were being sent and it was deep in the night when people ought to be sleeping. It was obvious that these people were arousing each other sexually. Such arousal would have to find an outlet somewhere some time.
As we were talking about this, my fellow elder told me that these sexually explicit and arousing messages now had a term. They were called â€œsextingâ€. As he said this, I realised that we never had this facility before the mobile phone was invented.
We called Fortune, the young man who owned the phone, into my office. As soon as he saw it on the table, he grabbed it and put it into his pocket. The look on his face was begging for an answer. We told him, â€œYes, we have seen both the photos and the messages.â€
Fortune was visibly embarrassed. He was brought up in a Christian home. His parents were committed to the church – and so was he. Fortune was humble-looking and yet, behind the scenes, unknown to his parents and church leaders, he was guilty of sexting.
We wanted to know who the girl was. He told us that she lived in his neighbourhood and they had become friends a while ago because they used to come on the same bus from school. They then began to visit each other in their homes when no one was around.
From the messages on the phone it was clear that the visits were of a sexual nature. They referred to how they felt when fondling and kissing each other and how they were now missing all that as they lay in bed in their different homes that night.
We told Fortune that his parents needed to know. He pleaded with us not to tell them. â€œThey will be very disappointed with me,â€ he said. He promised to delete the messages and photos. He also promised to have nothing to do with the girl from now onwards.
We told Fortune that we would do for his parents what we would like them to do for us if they ever found similar incriminating evidence on the phones of our children. We said to him that the Bible says, â€œDo to others what you would have them do to you.â€
When Fortuneâ€™s parents arrived, we asked them if they knew their son was sexually active. They both shook their heads. We asked them if they knew their son had a girlfriend in the neighbourhood. They shook their heads. We then asked Fortune to give them his phone.
As they both went through the messages and photos, they were shaking their heads in unbelief. The mother would every so often look at her son, sigh, and then read again. Her eyes became teary while his father was evidently getting tensed up and angry.
Fortuneâ€™s parents immediately began to reprimand their son. â€œThis is why you have such poor grades at school. Is this what you are filling your brains with? We are taking away this phone and you will not be allowed to have another phone until you leave our home!â€
We spent the afternoon counselling both parents and child. You cannot police your children this way. Rather, give them parental teaching and guidance. Youths need regular instruction about the dangers of sexting. They must know that it is a slippery slope to ruin!
Many people have crossed the boundaries of chastity through sexting, long before physical sex has taken place. Many adulterous affairs have started this way, until what has been craved for on the phone has been satisfied behind closed doors. Sexting is dangerous!
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FAMILY MATTERS with PASTOR CHANDA