Power of a Hug

The Power of a Hug

Someone once said "Love travels through hugs." Now you might think that's a little over the top, but I'm convinced that there's much more to a hug than meets the eye.

As part of a course I've been doing at another church, we go into the local town centre and offer people free hugs. I appreciate that hugging isn't something you'd expect to see on a course syllabus, but it's about sharing something of the love of God in a practical way to total strangers. I was immediately struck by how people responded. One older lady, for example, said she'd not had a hug since her husband had died four years previously. Another lady put her heavy shopping bags down and said; "I could do with a hug, I'm having a rotten day!"

Admittedly you do get some strange looks, and the occasional wise-crack such as, "Sorry, mate, you're not my type!", but that's not the typical response. As we've gone out onto the streets of Hornchurch, people have even stopped their cars to get a free hug! Young and old, male and female, the response has been quite overwhelming. So many people enjoy the human connection that a hug offers, and, their otherwise expressionless faces, break into a broad smile, even laughter. We have made a difference to their day.

I believe there's a spiritual dynamic to this as well. As we hug people, something of the love of God is imparted. We don't preach at people and we may not even exchange a word. But in the same way as Jesus said that anyone who offers even a drink of water to someone in His Name demonstrates His love, I believe that every hug given in Jesus' Name carries a spiritual power. And such a demonstration has the potential to change the spiritual atmosphere in an area.

Hugging our brothers and sisters in Christ has been part of Christian tradition for centuries. ‘Greet one another with a holy kiss’, the Scriptures say…though let's not get started on the subject of kissing! There is something affirming and assuring about receiving a hug from someone. It says, "I accept you as part of my family." And God's love for us is always affirming and assuring. He accepts us just as we are. His love for us is tender and He hides us beneath the shadow of His wings. The Passion Translation puts it like this:

"His massive arms are wrapped around you, protecting you. You can run under the covering of majesty and hide. His arms of faithfulness are a shield keeping you from harm." Psalm 91:4

Today, I encourage you to receive a free hug from the Almighty! Allow yourself time to simply rest in His presence and imagine those heavenly arms enfolding you, protecting you, affirming you and assuring you that you are His.

Be blessed in Christ

Pete


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