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To Hug or Not to Hug

Wednesday started out like any normal day. I woke up for work, showered, dressed, and grabbed an oatmeal and O.J. from McDonald’s. As I headed to work, I never realized that in less than 8 hours, I would find myself scolded like a 5-year-old in front of an entire office, lied on, and transferred to another position. Why you ask? Because I am a hugger. (Except in this instance I was told I hugged someone and I really didn’t).

I am an affectionate, likeable (if I say so myself), and confident (when I don’t think about my weight) person. I enjoy laughing, eating, dancing, eating, reading and eating. I have never met a stranger and I believe everyone has something in him or her of value. Some say I can be a little thuggish if pushed the wrong way but we all have our hiccups ;-).

My heart is to truly treat everyone with genuine love and appreciation. In today’s world we are constantly bombarded with war, violence, hatred, theft, murder, anger and dissent. We are seeing an increase in suicides, infants left in dumpsters and elders being physically abused by loved ones and caretakers. We are fighting terrorism and witnessing the murders of individuals based upon their race or sexual preference.

With all the hell we are facing in the world today, who doesn’t need a hug? Now don’t get me wrong, there is an etiquette to hugging and you should use discernment when it comes to hugging. You have to ensure that others around don’t misconstrue your intent with the hugs and you should never force a hug from anyone.

But this is where your character speaks for itself. I greet friends, colleagues and loved ones with hugs. I hug at school, church, work or the gym (usually not the gym because people are sweaty) but you get my point. I hug you if I hardly see you or if I see you every day. Why? Because I truly missed you. I hug for celebrations or for comfort. I hug janitors and I hug CEOs. I hug my massage therapist, my chiropractor, my kid’s teachers and my lawyer. I AM A HUGGER! To me there is no greater display of love, support, kindness and comfort than giving someone a sincere hug.

The people who know me know that I love to give hugs because they know my character. They know that the gentlemen I hug will always receive a church hug (the side hug with the one arm). They know I don’t want your husband (or your wife) and my hugs are just what they are meant to be; friendly, warm, courteous and real. It means I care about you, I am happy to see you and I have Agape love for you!

Romans 12:9-13 says, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. (NIV)

To be told hugging is “not professional” is something I agree with but only to a certain degree. If you do not want to be hugged you will tell me or I see it with your body language. It may be awkward at first but I will respect your wishes and not hug you. No, I do NOT randomly go through the mall or the office hallways hugging people; but those that know me do not hesitate to greet me with a hug which I will happily reciprocate.

Most of us spend our days surrounded and interacting with our colleagues, peers, and supervisors. Many of these people become our friends. We share mishaps, embarrassing moments and heart breaks. We salute one another’s accomplishments or support one another’s struggles. We share recipes, Pinterest ideas and secrets. We may meet during the day for lunch or in the evening for dinner. Our families may or may not have met; but we know about them and consider them our own.

To be moved from a position that I enjoyed doing because of a false accusation of hugging was hard. I questioned God why does He allow people with no Christian foundation to have so much influence in the world? Why did He allow the work I enjoyed doing to be taken from me? Why was I being punished for something I normally do but didn't do this time? (ironic huh?)

The same answer came to me more than once. “There are more people waiting for you at the next level. People who need comfort, people who need someone to care, people who need Christ.”

So if you are going through a bitter divorce, or you are hurt by a betrayal, I am available to give you a hug. If you recently gotten engage to the man or woman of your dreams and you want to celebrate, I am available to give you a hug. If you lost a loved one through suicide, an illness or accident, I am available to give you a hug. But if you are one who doesn’t like to be hugged, I am available with a listening ear and a praying heart.


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