free hugs campaign

A world in need of love…

In a society where technological advances, internet, speed, and progress are dominant, the soul of mankind still hungers to be loved, for friendship and relationship.

Though it would seem that technological advances like microwaves, emails and cars would provide more time for humans to engage in relationships, the opposite has occurred. Less and less time today is devoted to family, friends and church. No wonder, some statistics state that between 7% and 18% of the world’s population has or currently is diagnosed with some form of depression.

One man, Juan Mann, experienced a great hour of darkness in his life, that inspired him to reach out to others. After suffering great loss and tragedy, Juan came home to Australia from London, with no one to great him at the airport. As he watched the arriving passengers meeting their friends and family with hugs and smiling faces, Juan longed for a hug but there was no one there to greet him.

That day in his life inspired Juan to start a “Free Hugs” Campaign. He got a cardboard and marker and made a sign that said “Free Hugs.” He went out into the middle of the city, and waved the sign, in hope to brighten up someone’s day who was in need of a hug. People began to come and pour out their hearts to Juan, as he gave out free hugs and love in the middle of a bustling street.

Soon afterwards, a video was made of his mission, and it began to touch the lives of people all over the world. As of today, his video has been viewed on YouTube over 15 million times. Before long, the “Free Hugs” Campaigns have been help in hundreds of cities around the world, and have grabbed the media’s attention every where it went. Since, Juan has appeared on many TV shows, and has been written about in many books and magazines. Before appearing on the “Oprah” show, Juan stood outside of her studio, continuing his campaign of “Free Hugs.”

One city in Australia tried to stop Juan from doing his campaign, stating he needed liability insurance for his campaign, which would cost Juan $25 million dollars to obtain. I wonder how much the liability insurance would cost Jesus if he were alive today.

The spread and influence of the “Free Hugs” campaign clearly show again, that people today lack relationships, hugs and love.

As Christians, the Body of Christ, we are called to love our neighbors, and our enemies as ourselves. Jesus is the Head, but we are the body. We are the hands with which Jesus hugs, we are the feet which Jesus uses to go into the darkest, most oppressed societies and homes.

I remember meeting Ron Heagy, a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down. Ron is married, and has a little baby girl. Today, he is able to get around, and is well-known motivational speaker. He moves around in a chair controlled by his mouth. But, the rest of his body parts don’t move. Though his brain functions, the body parts don’t respond to the desire of the brain. As he spoke to our youth, he shared how he desires for his hands to move so that he can hug his wife, and how he wants his feet to work so that he can come up to his child and pick her up – but the body parts don’t respond.

I wonder if Jesus sometimes feels the same way. Remember, Jesus is the Head, we are the body. When God looks at the oppressed, neglected, and hurting of this world, He weeps, wanting to hug them, and give them love. But often, his body parts don’t respond. We are His body.

My call today is for the members of the Body of Christ to stretch out your hands, get out of the four walls of the church, and began to reach where Jesus would reach. Began to go where Jesus would go.

The “Free Hug” Campaign was not really started by Juan Mann, it was started 2000 years ago by Jesus on the Cross, as He stretched out His hands for you and I. Today, may your hands be the extension of Jesus’ hands to a lonely world in need of a Savior.

With love,
Russell Korets
July 1st, 2007