August 29, 2022

A Proper Hug

Written by Boyd Bailey

Physical embrace is a divine gift that connects one needy heart with another needy heart.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 29, 2022

When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. Acts 20:36-37

We call it a “proper hug.” A line from the 2010 movie The Blind Side that Sandra Bullock’s character, Leigh Anne Tuohy uses to show her acceptance, kindness and affection to a young African American teenager Michael Oher. A beautiful story of generous love serving another. Now, as empty nesters we have a morning routine. Normally, I am in the library sipping my coffee, enjoying a quite time with the Lord when Rita (after brushing her teeth, ha!) walks in and says, “I need a proper hug.” On cue, I set my coffee down, stand up and we embrace intently for 20-30 seconds, or longer if needed. Our physical connection says, “I love you; I need you.” 

The Acts of the Apostles is a fascinating narrative of the exploits of the early church, which includes the Apostle Paul’s missionary journeys. His persistent love and service to leaders and their community of believers was of course… extraordinary. Three times beaten, once stoned, three times shipwrecked, robbed by bandits, multiple examples of his life at risk, hungry, thirsty, naked. Paul’s sacrifice and commitment to Christ and His followers was cause for an equal expression of love and gratitude at the time of his departure knowing he would not see his friends again. They prayed, they wept, they embraced and kissed him. Proper hugs are an expression of deep love and affection.

“So, he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).

Love, affection, gratitude, and acceptance all call out for a proper hug. Unfortunately, the unseemly of our day have highjacked hugs for their selfish, sensual desires, sometimes leading to sexual harassment. And the enemy would love for proper hugs to be dismissed, forgotten. Proper hugs are with pure intent, a heart-felt embrace and necessary. Necessary, because God created us to need care and compassion: physically, emotionally, spiritually. When proper hugs are ignored, improper emotions take effect: rejection, disapproval, disconnection. Proper hugs are the fruit of affection that is set above on Christ in His pure love. Hugs happen when love comes from above!

Have you become averse to hugs because of the negative connotations? If so, start by hugging intently those who will sit up front in the reserved rows at your funeral. Embrace with gratitude and love, knowing a proper hug today is for sure, but a proper hug tomorrow is not for sure. Hugs are God’s heart! In the prodigal son parable, the father (God) embraced His son (you). Go often to your heavenly Father for a proper hug, and you will hug properly through Christ’s love. Physical embrace is a divine gift that connects one needy heart with another needy heart. Keep hugging…properly!

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4, KJV).


Heavenly Father, embrace me with your love and affection, so I might embrace another with your love and affection, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.


Savor this 90 second clip of a proper hug exchange in The Blind Side. Notice how Leigh Anne is the first to initiate and later Michael reciprocates with a reminder of a proper hug.

Related Reading

Genesis 45:14-15, 46:29; Song of Songs 2:6; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Peter 5:14

Worship Resource

COR Worship Collective: Affection of Your Heart


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