Boomerang Giver

I grew up hearing the expression “Indian Giver” which makes really no sense.

First, it makes no sense because the “Indians” are the Native-Americans, who Christopher Columbus mistakenly thought were from India and somehow stuck for hundreds of years.  That would be like calling me a Malaysian.  It makes no sense.

Second, an “Indian Giver” is somebody who gives a gift and takes it back.  I don’t know much on the history of how this term got started, nor do I want to, because it is utterly ridiculous in the face of the fact that the settlers who arrived in America eventually grabbed the land out from under the Native-Americans and forced them on tiny settlements (compared to the size of America) as if this would somehow make things right, a little like taking a beautiful mustang out of the wilderness, placing them in a cage, and calling it fair-and-square, except that the injustice of human beings robbed of their land, prejudiced against, and mistreated is immeasurably worse in God’s eyes.

So when I am talking about somebody who gives something and takes it back, I am going to call them a Boomerang Giver.

Boomerang Givers are all around us.  You can really see Boomerang Giving in children, but that’s only where it starts.  Children are notorious for capriciously giving something away and soon after wanting (or demanding) it back.  If I had a dollar for every time I knew of a little girl giving jewelry away and then wanting it back, I could shop for jewelry of my own.

And then there are the Boomerang Givers who grow up to be adults.  They give something with the expectation that said item will be used in said way, and if it is not, they want it back.

But all we’re talking about here is stuff.  If my mom reclaimed the TV she gave me a few years back, I wouldn’t be happy about it, but I wouldn’t be hurt for the rest of my life.  After all, there is such a thing as Best Buy.

Boomerang Givers know how to end a friendship, but, up until now, they’ve just been aggravating.

But what about Boomerang Givers who take back immaterial gifts?

What about Boomerang Givers who take back love they’ve given a person, or the faith they put in that person, or the pride they felt (how proud they were of that person), or the affection they had?  That really hurts.  That can’t be replaced with a trip to Best Buy.

But there’s one thing that can be taken back that is probably the worst of all.

Forgiveness.

There is probably nothing in the world so cruel for the Boomerang Giver to do as to take back forgiveness.

And yet, it is probably the very easiest thing to take back.

The Boomerang Givers gives (pretends to gives, or really thinks (s)he’s giving) forgiveness.  Usually it’s something like throwing out candy in a parade.  The Boomerang Giver tosses out forgiveness to a usually wildly thankful recipient.

That’s how it starts.

It starts with careless, dumb forgiveness.  Forgiveness that’s all about feelings and appearance and looking good at the right moment.

But later, when the moment wears off, and it’s suddenly not gorgeous to be the forgiver anymore . . .

The Boomerang Giver steals it back.

It started out so nice, and it ends so bitter.

Usually, the Boomerang Giver doesn’t grab it back all at once.  Rather, (s)he slowly reels it in, piece by piece.  It is so easy, so gradual.  It starts with looks, innuendo, gentle reminders of the past, hinting that all has not been forgotten . . . and over time it turns into an all-out war to seize every last drop of forgiveness back.

Forgiveness is liquid, and by taking it back, the Boomerang Giver spills it all over the ground.  And it is a hard thing to know what to do with it after that.

The Bible tells us that forgiveness was bought with the blood of Christ.  So what happens with the Boomerang Giver is it’s like they’re giving the blood of Christ to cover forgiveness and then taking it back.

This is why boomerang giving is such an abomination to God, and why there are so many warnings in the Bible about it.

But how do I know so much about Boomerang Givers?

Because I have been one.

I can think of few things so blasphemous to God . . . or so easy, easy, easy.  When I look at it, I cannot believe I have treated the blood of Christ with such contempt, or that I could be the very servant who, after having been pardoned from billions of dollars of debt, strangles the life out of a friend for owing me a couple cents.

When you realize you’ve been a Boomerang Giver, you are filled with a very distinct kind of despair.  How, after all, do you re-give forgiveness that you yourself have ruined?

Well, you don’t, I think.  I believe, at the first forgiveness, the act is forgiven, because I don’t believe the blood of Jesus can be taken back.  In a flip-around, though, it is now the Boomerang Giver who needs forgiveness.

There are all kinds of problems, all kinds of circumstances in this world, and if you’ve ever been a Boomerang Giver like me, it could be impossible for you to ever receive forgiveness back from the person you tried to destroy.  The person might be unwilling, or untraceable, or dead.  So what does that mean?  What can you do?

Jesus tells us something very important about Himself through the book of Hebrews.  He tells us that He is our High Priest.  That can be hard to understand in today’s world, but what that really means is He is like the Supreme Court: He is the highest authority of condemnation or forgiveness.  There is no going over His head for appeals on either side.  So what that means is, when we don’t receive forgiveness from someone who we desperately must receive forgiveness from, we can go to Him, and He is able to forgive us, even if that person isn’t able or willing.  That’s possible because Jesus is the leveler of all sin.  He died for everyone’s sin at the cross, and, since everyone sins, no one is in a position above anyone else.  Jesus holds all the debts.  Whether you think you owe $100 or a $1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000000,000, the point is that you owe to Jesus.  He has paid everything.  And because He’s paid everything, He has the right to forgive the sin of anyone He chooses, regardless of how much or how little they owe.

Even boomerang giving can be forgiven . . . if you don’t wait until it is too late.

Seek Him right now.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be absolutely free. (John 8:36, GW)

This blog is dedicated to my mom, who is no boomerang forgiver.  Thank you for showing me how to forgive others, Mom.

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Photograph by Paleontour, profile on http://www.flickr.com/people/paleontour/

Photograph is under Creative Commons License.

See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

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