Above is a video showing the true story of what happened when a man went to give away free hugs. I know the youth group at St. Mark's Episcopal in Brunswick has given free hugs (their pictures are here). Which seemed like a fun way to do what our youth group did another time in giving away dollar bills on the water front in St. Marys as a lesson in grace. People resisted taking the dollar from a teen. Many refused. If they accepted, the person who took the dollar was given a note that said that there really were no strings attached. It was so that we could learn more about how to receive the free gift of God's love.
No matter what you genuinely give, people first give back resistance assuming that there is a trick or hidden cost. God gives us unearned, unmerited love. We call this grace. We assume there is a catch. There is in a way. We are to live as people whom God loves. This is always how love works. In order to become lovable, we must first be loved (see Disney's Beauty and the Beast). But the love must come first. For if someone doesn't love me as I am, then why change. But if I am loved as I am, then I can become more lovable. This is grace.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor