Gift-Giving -- Is It Always a Good Idea?
A friend and I were discussing gift giving between the genders last night. She, a young woman, gives gifts to young men. Last night she told me she also receives gifts from her "brothers in Christ." That seriously bothered me and still does.
I asked her if her father knew about this and she said her mother does. But what good is that? As daughters we are to be under our father's care. The father is the head of the Christian household. He should be the one to tell her whether or not that behavior is acceptable. He should know about this stuff, as well as her mother. How can she be under her father's care if he doesn't even know what's going on? Daughters very much need their fathers protection and guidance, especially when dealing with "The Other Gender."
I thought about my life. . . my unsaved father is not the head of the household here and, to be honest, he's not a protector either -- God is my only "protector." I look at girls who come from Christian households half-enviously. They have two protectors! If only they would use them and let the protector do his job.
Now, I admit that I have sent gifts to guys a couple times, but I can explain why I thought it was okay for me to do so:
The first gift I sent to a guy was when I sent Hokie stuff to Mark* because his team was playing my team. My team is the Hokies. His team lost. HA! I took literally weeks deciding whether or not I should send him anything. Finally, it was Sarah*, his beloved (they are courting), who convinced me that it was fine. I'm positive that had Mark not been "attached" I would not have felt right about sending him anything. I don't want to throw myself at guys (horrors!) or give them the wrong idea.
The second gift I sent to a guy was once again to Mark. What was it? Pictures of Sarah from a trip I took with her. Once again, if Mark wasn't attached I wouldn't have sent him a gift -- and if he wasn't courting then I couldn't send him pictures of his beloved!! ;-)
The third gift I gave to a guy was a magazine subscription, and that wasn't entirely from me. I had 5 or 6 friends contribute to Jason's* subscription. I was the "ringleader," but once again I wasn't doing it because I wanted attention, to single myself out to a guy (in this case, Jason). My motives were right.
But an unattached girl sending a gift to an unattached guy? I think is wrong. What if the guy was attached? Would the girl still be sending him these things? What if the girl was attached? Would the guy still give her gifts? What if the girl was attached and her beloved found out she was getting gifts from another man? That is exactly what is happening. Whether she realizes it or not the girl is attached. To whom? Her future husband. What's he going to say later on when she pulls out old gifts? "This is from Ryan, this is from James, this is from Curtis. . . Honey why did all these guys send you things? Why did you let them? Was it for the attention? Couldn't you have waited for me, my love?"
How would you like it if your future husband's house were cluttered with gifts from various girls he used to know? Ten years from now when you two are happily married, would you like to open up a book and read, "To Andrew, from your sister in Christ, Jennifer, with love." Ouch, huh? So why is it okay for you to get gifts from guys?
Girls, all of you are attached. And if you get gifts from guys now you future husband will find out. What are you going to tell him? If you can look him straight in the eye and say "I remained pure, I was doing this with a godly love, nothing more. He was a friend and still is a friend. He was never more then a friend and will be nothing more then a friend" -- then that is wonderful!
But what if you can't do that? What if you say, "I gave him a gift because I wanted his attention. I wanted someone to notice me. I wanted a guy to notice me." Motives are extremely important; I can't tell you how important it is! I know it's hard remaining emotionally pure...very hard for girls especially.
When sending guys the gifts I sent them, I made sure my motives were pure and even asked Sarah if she thought it was alright for me to send the things to Mark. She knew about these things before he did. My motive was a joke, a gag gift the first time. When I sent the magazine to Jason it was also a gag gift.
I think I've discovered a very good rule: if you would feel guilty telling your husband about a gift you gave or received, then don't give or receive the gift! And also if you were giving a gift to a guy and would feel guilty telling his wife that you gave/received gifts from him, don't give or accept!
A few weeks ago a friend of mine offered to give me a present and I felt that I couldn't accept gifts from guys. Why? Protection. I am a gift giver, which means I feel most loved when getting a gift. It also means that I show love by giving gifts. I don't want to feel "most loved" by a guy whom I do not plan on marrying. I am not even close to being ready for marriage right now.
As I pointed out sometimes it IS fine to give gifts to guys -- I have done it. But please, please, please dear sisters do not give away pieces of your heart!
As we get older our friendships with guys have to change. We can't treat guy friends "just like I treat my girls friends." Guys are not girls. What we say and do around guys has to be different then what we say and do around girls. You can't have as much self disclosure with guys, because by opening yourself up to them you are giving your heart away and setting yourself up to be hurt.
Am I saying we shouldn't have guy friends? No, of course not. Mark is a friend of mine. So is Jason. But we do have to remain careful. We do have to make sure the friendship is a godly friendship on both sides.
I would also like to say that I am not saying I am a saint, nor am I saying my friend who gives/receives gifts from guys is evil. As long as her motives are 100% pure I can't see anything wrong with what she is doing -- besides the fact she hasn't told her father about these guys. Although, I kinda wonder why she hasn't. . . would he not approve?
Just my thoughts.