• Jack Selcher

Repentance--Straightening Crooked Paths


When I was a child, our church held its annual picnic at Willow Mill Park near Mechanicsburg, PA. The Conodoguinet Creek flows through the park. To me, the creek was the most interesting part of the park. Conodoguinet is Native American. It means “A long way with many bends.” A straight line between its source and its confluence with the Susquehanna River is about 60 miles. The Creek serpentines 44 additional miles to get there.1 The closer it gets to the Susquehanna River, the more crooked it becomes. Apart from God we’re all prone to Conodoguinet-living. We travel a long way with many bends.


The Bible repeatedly uses “crooked” to describe our God-offending ways. It means we’re a corrupt, warped, and crooked generation (Deuteronomy 32:5). We’re devious (Proverbs 2:15). Our words are perverse (Proverbs 8:8). We live in darkness (Proverbs 2:15). We ignore justice. We have no peace ( Isaiah 59:8).


In contrast to our crooked ways, God’s way is the straight path (Psalm 27:11). It’s consistent with His righteousness (Proverbs 5:8). It’s connected with submitting our ways to Him (Proverbs 3:6). It’s welded to righteousness (Proverbs 11:5), understanding (Proverbs 15:21), and wisdom (Proverbs 4:11). It’s contrasted with the way of Balaam who loved the dividends wickedness paid him (2 Peter 2:15). God’s children are blameless and pure in a warped and crooked generation (Philippians 2:15).


The description of the crooked path versus the straight path in the Old Testament helps us understand John the Baptist’s challenge to repent in Matthew 3:3: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” In brief, John is saying, “Repent!” Turn from your corrupt, warped, devious, dark, and wicked words and ways. Turn to integrity, justice, blamelessness, purity, submissiveness to God, righteousness, understanding and wisdom. No more Conodoguinet-living. Straighten your crooked paths. #freechristiandiscipleshipresources #freeevangelismresources #freechristianleadershipresources


1. Conodoguinet Creek - Wikipedia


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Photo: Ripples travel down the Conodoguinet - Kathleen Keller - C… | Flickr


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