Ewald Schmidt 

There is … a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing. ...Ecclesiastes 3:1a,5b NIV
To embrace someone has always been a way to express intimacy. It is reserved for those people you hold dear to your heart. It is reserved for your closest friends, your family and, ultimately, the most intimate embrace is reserved for your spouse.
In our lives, so many people cross our paths. We do not have the capacity to be everybody’s best friend. We did not choose some people to be in our lives. Our parents and siblings were chosen by God. I know some people have a place of hurt regarding their family of origin. I also know that God has intended your family to be your best support system, a place of security, acceptance and love. God intended your family to be people worthy of embrace. If it is in your power, be someone who reaches out with love to your family. It was God’s plan that we should honour our parents (Ephesians 6:2-3) and it is good to live in peace with your siblings. God commands his blessing where brothers live in peace (Psalm 133:3).
You have a choice in all other relationships. Who are the people you have allowed to come close to your heart? Who are the people that inspire you, those who make you feel better about yourself, friends who always have your back? You also have a choice for the most special person in your life – your spouse. Choose wisely and then embrace that person with all your heart. Your loved one and your best friends, they deserve your embrace, love, kindness and support. They matter in your life, therefore, make time to express your gratitude.
Yes, we are called to love all people. Jesus commanded us to love our fellow man like he does (John 13:34). That does not mean that we have to be friends with everybody, neither will we be able to even like everyone. We do not have to embrace every person on earth. We do not need to make a special place in our hearts for them. We do not have to absorb all their pain and sorrows. Sometimes, it is good to keep a healthy distance, to not embrace. To love our fellow man, means to pray for God’s blessing over their lives. It asks of us to help where we are able to, when we see a need. It asks of us to speak kind words, to reach out a hand of peace. Romans 12:18 commands us: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
There are so many people affecting our lives daily. Some have grown close to us, they love us and support us – they edify us. Embrace them! Some people pull us down, they hurt us without reason. Stay away from them; refrain from embracing, walk away!
Prayer: Lord, thank you for all the wonderful people you have put in my life. Thank you for my family and my dear friends. Thank you that I may embrace them with love. May my life be a blessing to them as well. But Lord, also lead me away from embrace when someone hurts me; protect me against people with evil intentions. May your Spirit guide me in my relationships. Amen.