I bruised a rib and pulled a muscle in my back in an accident last week. For about a week I couldn’t stand up straight. Even when I thought I was standing up straight, Tom would point out I was leaning left. The injury is gradually getting better and now it really only hurts when I sneeze. But I still have to consciously stand up straight against the pulled muscle so I am not leaning left.
In Amos 7:8, God tells the prophet Amos that he is setting a plumb line for the Israelites. “Then the Lord said, “Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.” A plumb line is a string with a weight at the bottom. It is a simple tool, but it will tell you whether a wall or a back is straight up and down. No matter how much you lean left or lean right, you can’t make that plumb line anything but straight up and down.
I think Jesus is our plumb line and there are plenty of times when I find myself leaning away from his straight way. This is one of the reasons I read the Bible every day. Reading God’s word helps keep me from leaning the wrong direction. Instead, I stand up straight in the Lord. Or, at least, I know the way I am supposed to stand. Doing it is a different matter.
In this fraught political climate, I have seen people who claim that you can’t be a real Christian if you vote Democrat. I know plenty of Democrats who feel you can’t be a real Christian if you vote for Trump. Instead of measuring ourselves as Republican or Democrat, maybe we should be measuring ourselves against the plumb line of Jesus. Reading his words, I am always convicted of the many ways I fail to stand up straight. My goal is to keep my judgement of others to a minimum and only measure myself against God’s plumb line.
Dear Jesus, set my feet on your straight way. In comparisons with other people, I always come out looking good. Keep my eyes focused on you so that you, and you only, are my measure. Help me when I am leaning right or leaning left to straighten up according to your word and your plan. Thank you that I can rely on your grace instead of my inadequacies. Lead me so that I remain upright in the world. Amen.