Carl doesn’t hug. He will jump up on my lap and rub against my leg but he doesn’t hug. I never thought about how dogs or any other animal lacks the ability to embrace until the other day. I must admit I am typically a tentative hugger.
I grew up without many hugs from family members and up until just recently wouldn’t initiate a hug. I had a good friend that challenged me to change how I hugged. Instead of a weak squeeze with a little pat on the back, she encouraged me to use a strong grasp that let the person know that I cared.
Why did God create us to embrace others? What emotion or unfulfilled need is met with a strong hold by two people? I never gave this much thought until the other day. I had gone to visit a family that lost their young son from an aggressive cancer.
Once I entered the house, the grieving mother approached me with an intense hug. This hug was different. It was like a need was being met by transferring the heart of one to another. The embrace lasted longer than most and once we separated, I couldn’t help but feel that God had actually created us to hug.
As I thought about hugging, I decided to research in the Bible to see if there was any mention of Jesus hugging others. And to my astonishment, there is not one verse that states that He hugged anyone. One friend stated that He probably didn’t embrace others due to the amount of power that he held.
In Mark 5: 25-34, there is an account of a woman who has been bleeding for twelve years. She has been to doctors but her condition has only gotten worse. When she heard about Jesus and how He had been healing others, she made her way through the crowd and reached down and touched the hem of his garment.
“Immediately, her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
“You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”
But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
There could be many other reasons why hugging by our savior is not mentioned. It may not have been the custom or the authors didn’t find a purpose in writing about it. Anyway, I do believe that God did create us to hug each other.
As for Carl, getting him to put his paws in my lap is probably as close as I will get to a real hug. But that is okay. God has given me enough people to hug and Carl seems to be content with a good pat on the head.