January 25, 2021 - The Group Hug

It was a small, informal get-together of a few families at a home in Washington, DC. They were on the back patio, enjoying themselves socially on a hot July day. Then, out of nowhere, an intruder with a mask and gun entered grabbed a fourteen-year-old girl, and put a gun to her head.

“Give me your money,” he shouted, “or I will start shooting!”


Before anyone else could speak, an older woman approached the intruder and asked him, “Would you like a drink? It’s very hot outside.” After a few moments of hesitation, he said “Yes,” and she handed him a cold drink. When she offered him more, he took more. Then he was offered food, which he gladly accepted. At one point, while eating, he slipped the gun into his pants.

Finally, he looked around at them and announced, “I think I might have come to the wrong house.” Then, to everyone’s astonishment, he said, “Can I have a hug?”

A hug?


Well, one by one, and somewhat reluctantly, a few women came over and gave him a hug. And then he said, “Can we have a group hug?”

A group hug?

All the adults hugged him. After the hug, the intruder turned around and walked away, carrying a cold drink in his hand. When it was all over, when it was all said and done—no one was hurt, and nothing was stolen.


The story made the Washington Post. No wonder. It makes one think of Paul’s words: “Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

Certainly not then.