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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.

19 September 2011

A Hug Is Just a Hug ... or Is It?

If a man allows himself to be hugged by his ex-girlfriend is he committing adultery?

Children HuggingNormally, I'd say no. However, if he finds himself still desiring her, then yes. Of course, the desire would probably be there before the hug. I think that most men and women probably hug at least one former boy- or girlfriend after they've started dating, become engaged to, or married someone else. The vast majority of these are, likely, completely innocent.

You should also ask yourself why you want the answer. If this is the man you’ve married or are otherwise committed to, has he ever given you occasion to doubt his sincerity and commitment to you? Or is this a bit of unfounded suspicion that could tear apart the relationship you now have?

Of course, there are times when even innocent-seeming actions are wrong. Jesus’ words are certainly true: “I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:28)” The same goes for hugging and any displays of affection or flirtatiousness. For example read what I wrote in Flirting with Disaster.

Bottom line: Unless you have good reason to doubt him, try investing the same energy you’re spending in questioning him — and more — in showing your love for him.

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.

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Walter Snyder is a Lutheran pastor, conference speaker, author of the book What Do Lutherans Believe, and writer of numerous published devotions, prayers, and sermons.

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Anonymous Drewe said...

I think for most people common sense should prevail.

What will your new spouse think of this action? In most cases, it will cause distress, contention and more. This is simply not worth it.

Secondly, that hug may well be more 'intimate' than a hug with someone else - simply because of history. It could well be natural to pull tighter, be closer. Again, this is not worth it for either of you, as it could bring about memories that are best not remembered now you are committed elsewhere.

I agree there is also a good chance of this being innocent - but the risks to all sides are very high!


19 September, 2011 21:44  

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