Someone Needs A Hug
 
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[The UK now has a "Minister for Loneliness." See also the Atlantic report on the Millenials' loneliness epidemic: Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation. (Better: Mockingbird Ministries summary article)]

A few weeks back we talked about James 2:1-13: social partiality and social mercy. About the social gravity that trials exert on us to seek "easy" connections. People who don't stress us out. We are partial to the people we think will make our lives easier.

Thank God that Jesus isn't like that. 

Jesus came to the downtrodden, the down'n'out, the drowning, the done-for, the despicable, the diseased, the doomed and damned. And thank God for it. Thank God that He had mercy. And not from afar--cosmic mercy-checks snail mailed by heaven's accounts payable department. Nope. Right in there, in our circle, close enough to smell our bad breath and BO and notice our skin blemishes and asymmetrical features, our limps and stains and the way we drool a little when we think we're funny.

I'm ashamed of all the stuff that is true of me. But thanks be to God that He walked right up to me and listened to me and loved me anyway. Praise the LORD of hugs!

I'm not alone anymore, am I?

And now I don't have to maneuver to hide from criticism or attempt to fix my problems. I can head straight for the least and last. Least useful to my agenda. Last people I have anything in common with. Guess what? I do though. We're both in desperate need of gobs of mercy.

The world is a lonely place. So lonely that the secular government of a major nation has turned loneliness into a national concern. Hey, UK: the world already has a Minister for Loneliness. His Name is Jesus.

Social media won't help. That's the lesson of the "smartphone" article. Social media just allows us to amplify and perfect our natural tendency to be partial. (another of technology's promises to create a utopian-world: see also, trains, phones, cars, WW2) 

I was talking with a friend today and he said: "I know things about God's love, but it takes His people's love for me to really believe it." We feel loved by God, when loved by others? We give God's love to people, when we love them?  The world already has a Minister for Loneliness. And we're His staff

If you need a hug, you know where to go--a Friend who'll never leave you or forsake you, and a staff committed to...well, we're working on it, right? And if you've got Jesus, then you're just what this world needs. And someone needs a hug.