“I am not a crook!” These words were once famously spoken by a former President in a time when people expected their leaders to be honest and forthright. It’s a refreshingly candid remark that almost seems quaint in today’s cynical political atmosphere.
The term “crook” comes from “crooked,” which might seem like a strange way to describe someone. Its meaning is most likely derived from the Bible. Solomon used the term to describe a dishonest person; a person who is bent – who doesn’t measure up – who leans toward evil and away from what is right. He said that the crooked could never be straightened (Ecclesiastes 1:15).
The truth is that all of us are crooked – every single one of us.
Like a sapling that has grown bent over, when forcibly straightened, it just snaps back to its bent shape when released. All of our efforts to reform ourselves or to straighten out other people are equally challenged. There is nothing that a man can do in his own power to straighten himself out. If we could, then Jesus would not have needed to die.
Only Jesus can take the crooked and make it straight.
John the Baptist used the words of Isaiah to describe what Jesus would do:
“Every valley will be filled, and every mountain and hill will be brought low, and the crooked will be made straight, and the rough ways will be made smooth, and all humanity will see the salvation of God.’” Luke 3:5-6
Beginning with the thief on the cross, Jesus hasn’t stopped straightening out crooks. He’s still doing it today. He doesn’t merely straighten us, though – he replaces our crooked life with a new one. Through the miracle of redemption, we are made new creatures.
Some of us admittedly need to be constantly remade – we are told to “Be-being made new.” It’s an ongoing process that won’t end until the day we make it home.
Christ's life is the ultimate "Straight Stick."
“Jesus was condemned as a crook and bent crooked in the manner He was hung on the cross, and from the pain that gripped His body, in order that we might be made straight through Him.” ~ James H. Cagle