One of my favorite people in the world is a guy named Zak. You wouldn’t necessarily think that Zak and I would be bros. I’m relatively straight laced and clean cut. Zak is all punk. From the skinny jeans and lip rings to the “half cut” (don’t ask), Zak is the embodiment of punk.
Over the course of our friendship Zak has become an ardent follower of Jesus. In so many ways he is the kind of man that I want my son to be (definitely not the skinny jeans). He cares deeply for people and wants others to love Jesus. During his time in high school he launched a missional movement called Coffee/Doubt at a local coffee shop, it was amazing.
When Zak was launching Coffee/Doubt, I was on staff working with students at the congregation that Zak was attending. I will never forget the day that I stood chatting with one of the mothers who informed me that she wouldn’t be sending her son to youth group any longer because of Zak. I was dumbfounded, almost unable to speak. She shared how he was a terrible influence with his mohawk, lip rings, and leather jacket. She just couldn’t expose her son to such a person.
In Luke 10:25-37 Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan. He uses this parable to shock a religious scholar into realizing that one’s neighbor is the one who serves, cares, and engages. Two religious leaders pass by a half dead person on the side of the road and turn the other way. A Samaritan serves, care, and engages him. This was a twist that nobody could see coming. Samaritans were awful, horrible, and just might have wore leather jackets, lip rings, and mohawks. At the very least they were terrible influences. Yet, Jesus paints the Samaritan as the hero.
We all have prejudices and hatred in our hearts. We look at someone and instantly know that they are a bad person. We are easily able to judge a book by its cover, even though in Kindergarten we learn not to.
Who is your neighbor? Who is your Zak? Share in the comments below…