Hugs for the Hurting
“Some men brought to Him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the man, ‘Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”- Matthew 9:2
“Brothers don’t shake hands, brothers gotta hug!” These profound words were uttered by the ultimate peacemaker, bridgebuilder, and “look on the bright side” dude, Tommy Boy (played by the late Chris Farley). Seriously though, there are people all around us in need of a reach out and a help up from what has them hurting, stumbling, and giving up. Much like the simple greeting expression of a “smile”, extending our arms to someone else has a valuing, caring, and empowering element that cannot be measured.
As I have made it a daily point to prioritize others, I have received hugs from people who were grateful and/or needed comfort:
A waitress gave me a hug just because I told her she was doing an amazing job
A neighbor gave me a hug while crying because I left work to help them move some furniture being delivered to their house
A friend from my local Starbucks gave me a hug because I invited her adult child over for Thanksgiving dinner instead of being alone while the rest of their family is out of town
Although these kind gestures were miniscule in my mind, they were of great significance to the recipient and elicited a profound reaction. Who knows if the waitress was struggling with insecurity or had just been yelled at by a previous customer; who knows if my neighbor was stressing out about her schedule or about missing work; and maybe my friend from Starbucks was feeling guilty about leaving a family member behind at Thanksgiving.
As important as it is to extend kindness and personal care to the people around us, it is of even greater value to bring them to the ARMS OF JESUS. If a quick compliment, a helping hand for thirty minutes, and dinner invitation can make an impact, how much more can a life be changed, a heart be healed, and a soul be saved when they meet the One whose love, truth, glory, and power always works and always wins! Consider for a moment the following Scriptures that speak to what the Divine touch can do:
Jeremiah 31:3- “The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying, ‘I have loved you with n everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”
Isaiah 59:1- “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short, nor his ear too dull to hear.”
Deuteronomy 33:27- “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”
Psalm 91:1- “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
Matthew 8:3- “Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ He said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.”
Mark 10:16- “And Jesus took the children in His arms, placed His hands on them and blessed them.”
One of the new things God has called us to is to provide a weekly HEALING NIGHT SERVICE (Wednesdays at 7 pm). There are several reasons (better put convictions) for offering such a night and inviting as many who would need a touch and “a God hug” to come. We want our practices to match our beliefs; we want our view to be heavenward and our focus to be kingdom-centered based on Jesus’ words in Matthew 4:17, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”; and most of all there are hurting people who need healing, lost people who need finding, broken people who need redeeming, and lonely people who need loving. One of the common occurrences we see in the life and ministry of Jesus is how His fame spread based on the many signs He was doing. When one person received an amazing answer from the Almighty, they went to TELL and BRING others to the One who can forgive, save, and heal!
The question for us today, no much rather the assignment for us is to see…
1. Who we can BRING LOVE TO through a kind word, a simple acknowledgement, a helping hand, and a listening ear.
2. Who we can BRING TO JESUS who needs a friend, who needs a miracle touch, and who needs the perfect gift of salvation.
If you take on such a heavenly assignment you better do some push-ups and dumbbell curls, because I have a feeling your daily hug quota is about to skyrocket Tommy Boy style!