“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8).
I was Running as fast as I could through the dark corridor. My heart raced as fear was overtaking me, but the darkness was met with a glimmer of light at the end of the hall with open arms in flannel pajamas, my mom. I opened my eyes, replaying the dream in my mind. I thought, in this dark, fearful place full of unrest, my dream ended in a hug from my mom- love won.
Scrolling through social media this week, I ran across an article stating, “Satanic Church co-founder converts to Christianity after radio presenter shows him the unconditional love of Christ.” After reading, I was amazed that this man who was once worshipping Satan and leading others to do the same, is now a worshipper of Jesus, leaving the satanic church, all because of a hug. He was doing a radio show, and at the end, a Christian woman came up to Him and embraced him. He stated in the article, “After that interview, she held me in a way that I’ve never been loved. That’s all she did; she didn’t say anything. I’ve never had anyone, let alone a Christian, do that. I’ve never had that kind of experience. I never knew a Christian could show that much love and could accept me unconditionally.” (Drew, 2022). Love won.
A story my dad tells me year after year, not because it was a small thing in his life, but because it was such an impactful act of love that made an imprint on his heart. In a season where he felt alone while walking through one of the hardest seasons of His adulthood, he was eating at his regular café. A familiar, older woman came up to him on a particularly difficult day, and said, “John, I know exactly what you need.” She opened her arms and gave him a big hug, and my dad told me that was EXACTLY what he needed in that very moment. She helped him more than she ever will realize, and once again, love won.
While I was ministering at a conference, a young man came to the altar holding back tears. I asked him if He knew Jesus, and he responded with a hesitated yes followed by, “I’ve walked away from him.” I asked him if he was ready to re-dedicate his life to God in that moment? He looked at me with sad eyes and said, “yes.” I felt the Lord wanted him to experience love, and prompted me to give him a hug, so I asked permission and wrapped my arms around this broken young man. Suddenly he broke into tears that dripped on my shoulder and the love of Jesus was so strong, kind and brought such healing in that moment. He asked God to be a part of his life again, he forgave, he asked for forgiveness and he was encountering Jesus in such a beautiful and real way. Love won.
At a women’s conference a few years ago, the speaker said, “I know this sounds crazy, but I believe there are people in this room today that need a hug.” She felt the Lord’s prompting on this and invited a few, huggers, to stand in the front of the room. I suddenly found myself in a long line full of woman who were waiting for their hug. I felt so silly, and almost left the line a few times, but something in me knew I really did want one. A kind pastor who was tall and gentle hugged me and I felt like it was the arms of Jesus. I receive hugs from my husband and family daily, but there was something in that hug that reminded me that Jesus is always with me, it truly was what I needed in that simple, yet beautiful moment. Love won.
I write these few stories, not because I am encouraging you to go hug everyone you see, but that we must not forget the simplicity, yet significance of love. Love won on the cross over 2,000 years ago, and Jesus teaches us, through his word, that love will continue to win, as it is the greatest commandment of all. He was our best example of love, for that is even who he is, yet we forget that love is the foundation of our ministry to others. I have ministered in condemnation and I have ministered in love, and love has always led to repentance, goodness, to God, to healing, and to a life with Jesus. Through the Holy Spirit we have the power to make an impression on this hurting world. All these stories of an act of love left great impressions on the receivers, and I believe that God is reminding us of the power that His great love holds, as we get to be the reflectors of it. Before the Asbury Revival broke out, the pastor simply said, “we need to experience God’s love so we can go and be God’s love.” Don’t forsake an act of love today, you never know what a mighty impact it may have in one’s life.