Making Decisions/My Life/Teen Life 5 Texts You Should NOT Send if You Want to Grow in Virtue by Christina Mead Guys… texting is the best. I can make so many things happen with my thumbs. I can make new friends. I can make new friends who will bring over pizza. I can make new friends who bring over pizza and also want to talk about God, therefore feeding my body AND my soul. All by moving my thumbs over my phone. It’s nuts. But as with all good things (like pizza for example), there are going to be downfalls (pizza burning your mouth, running out of pizza, pizza tummy aches). As a wise saint, or sage, or actually maybe spiderman’s uncle said, “with great power comes great responsibility.” The great power we have is at the tip of our fingers. We can say anything we want and not have to say it to someone’s face. We can throw punches and wound one another without any immediate repercussions, besides the gnawing feeling in your heart that maybe you shouldn’t have sent that text. It’s happened to me and in order to help save you from that guilt, shame, and the need to beg forgiveness from God and your brother or sister in Christ, here are just a few of the texts you should. Not. Send. Backspace. Delete. Immediately. “You’ll never guess what (name) told me today!” When someone trusts you with private information, it’s immature and rude of you to tell another person what is not yours to tell. Be trustworthy. Good friends don’t spread gossip. (Caveat: If someone is being hurt by someone, or going to hurt themselves, this always needs be shared with an adult, no matter what.) “I’m home alone tonight and bored. Do you want to come over?” Sending this text to someone of the opposite sex whom you have a crush on is always and forever a bad idea. Don’t be so naive to think that you can put yourself in a tempting situation (especially in the evening/night) and not struggle to fall into sin. If you’re serious about a life of virtue, avoid sending this text! “Fine. Do whatever you want. It’s your life.” I’ve sent this text when my friend was about to do something they shouldn’t, and I didn’t stand up for the truth of what was best for them and their soul. Our culture that loves to repeat, “don’t judge me” doesn’t understand what it means to be brothers and sisters in Christ and to be responsible for calling one another on to holiness. It’s possible to challenge our best friends lovingly, mercifully, and with compassion. And it is our duty. “How do I look? What do you think?” I get it. I get it. I get it so much it’s not funny. We just want to feel validated and good enough. But fishing for compliments won’t work in the long run. If you’re at the point where you feel the need to validate yourself with this kind of text, accompanied by a photo of your body, you need a self-esteem rehaul, not a flirty text reply. It’s one thing to try on a dress in H&M and text your sister asking her if it looks okay. It’s a whole “other” (and not cool) thing to text your crush a picture of you lying on your bed in less clothes than you would wear to school. Don’t. Instead: pray with these scriptures: Psalm 139:14, 1 Peter, 2:9, Romans 5:8, 1 Corinthians 6:20, Luke 12:7 “Ugh. My mom is being such a b*$#! Right now.” This will never help your relationship with your parents. Complaining accomplishes nothing except helping you to carry on your bitterness, resentment, and anger. Also being disrespectful to authority is a sin; whereas respecting authority helps us stay humble. You have the power to set the tone and set a high standard of behavior and speech among your friends. It’s easy to do this in the good times, but the true test of your virtue is how you treat and speak about authority figures in the tough times when you’re struggling to understand and follow rules. These are just a few of the examples of texts that are better left deleted than sent if you are serious about growing in virtue and being a better person than you were yesterday. Oh! Good idea… instead of sending these texts… order pizza! It keeps your mouth and your hands occupied. Win/win.