Taming the Tiger: Lessons We Can Learn from the Trials of Tiger Woods
He may be the world’s greatest and richest golfer. He may have charmed Australia during his recent tournament visit, which the Herald Sun said that he was welcomed back anytime. Then came the car crash, the rumors, followed by a parade of girlfriends coming out of the woodwork. The revelations did not come as a drip-drip but more like a deluge. Tiger Woods, with that big winning smile, winning swing, and clean-cut family friendly image had been revealed as a serial adulterer.
You don’t even have to have an interest in golf to know that Tiger Woods was a golfing winner -- but now he looks like a humiliated loser on the home front. He may have gained the whole world but lost his marriage. Apart from being fodder for late night talkshow hosts and some humorous headlines like:
Tiger or Cheetah?
Tiger Shows His True Stripes
Too Crowded in Tiger’s Lair
Lust in the Woods
Some incredibly serious issue emerge.
CELEBRITY STATUS: Society is enamoured with celebrities and success; in many cases, it is obsessed with it. Celebrities do not mind the spotlight either, because it raises profile, enhances sales, and provides more opportunities. However, the ‘celebrity-sword’ cuts both ways. If you love the limelight, you will also have to cringe and duck if scandal breaks out ... and there is no where to hide. Jesus said:
For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. 3 Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops;--Luke 12:2-3 NKJV
This should put the fear of God in us all. Which is a good thing, because it is by the fear of the LORD that we depart from evil (Proverbs 16:6).
noun ( pl. -sies)
the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform; pretense.
Apparently people detest a prominent individual who also is a hypocrite. This word is often greatly misunderstood; many confuse ‘hypocrisy’ with ‘double-standard’...the ‘do-as-I-say; not-as-I do’ attitude.
Hypocrisy really means to ‘put on an appearance’ that does not reflect reality. It is what good actors do; however, the facade of pretense is denounced because it is deceptive and misleading. In the Bible, the word ‘hypocrite’ is used only by Christ and only in the synoptic gospels: 15 times in Matthew, 1 time in Mark, and 4 times in Luke. Jesus found hypocrisy extremely unpalatable. Apparently, so does the rest of the world.
ADULTERY: This episode has confirmed what has been the attitude all along. People despise adultery. To cheat on a spouse or a partner is considered the lowest of the low. Even non-religoius people hold this conviction. One of the reasons is because of the anquish and hurt it causes to the spouse and children. The sense of betrayal is unspeakable. Those who rightly condemn adultery are in accord with the Book of Proverbs, Chapter 6, which says:
32But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul. 33A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away. 34For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. 35He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts (KJV).
Of course, the Biblical Christian (‘literal Christian’ to some) go a step further. It is not just adultery that is wrong, but any type of sexual relations outside of marriage. Normally, this is called fornication. This word is used 38 times in the Bible. Adultery refers to intimate sexual relations with someone who is married; fornication involves the same when both parties are single. The Bible stridently denounces both, especially in the New Testament.
In Hebrews 13:4, it speaks glowingly about marriage but warns that adulterers and fornicators God will judge. These issues are so serious that in the very last chapter of the Bible, Revelation 22:15, which speaks of the glories of the Eternal State and the New Jerusalem, it adds this sober admonition: that outside the walls of the Holy City are ... the sexually immoral. This is another way of saying that they will not be part of God’s eternity--cut off forever.
Very serious stuff -- but then again, God takes moral purity very seriously.
LIMITATIONS OF MONEY: Tiger Woods is worth a $1 billion according to the measurements of the world. There are a lot of things you can buy with a billion dollars. Here are some of the things you CAN’T buy: friendship, peace of mind, a happy marriage, a blessed family, good health, a growing relationship with God, or eternal salvation. Put it this way:
• Money can buy a house, but not a home,
• Medicine, but not health,
• Fun, but not friendship,
• A wedding, but not a marriage,
• A crib, but not a child,
• A crucifix, but not a Savior.
Didn’t the Beatles once sing ‘Money can’t buy me love’?!
IS THERE A WAY FORWARD?
Can Tiger Woods be forgiven? The good news is ‘Yes.’ Jesus Christ came to this world to save sinners--which means all of us. So hope exists. But again, we need to be guided by the Word of God. In Proverbs 28:13 (KJV) it says He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
The steps on the road to redemption include:
1. Admission/Confession of guilt: take responsibility for your sin. Stop blaming others for your attitude and actions. Without confession, redemption is not possible.
2. Repentance: means turning away or change of attiude, words, and actions. Repentance is a fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith (Hebrews 6:1) and is the pre-requisite to salvation (Acts 20:21) and revival (Acts 3:19).
3. Action: take concrete steps to show that you mean business. John the Baptist said the Judeans to bring forth fruit of repentance.
Recently, Tiger Woods did the following:
1. He admitted that he had been unfaithful to his wife Elin Nordegren: on his website he said ‘I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children. I want to say again to everyone that I am profoundly sorry and that I ask forgiveness. It may not be possible to repair the damage I've done, but I want to do my best to try.’
2. He express deep sorrow and remorse, taking full responsibility;
3. He expressed a willingness to put his love of golf to the side and take an indefinite break in order to to save his marriage and support his family. ‘I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person (http://web.tigerwoods.com/news/article/200912117801012/news/)
Did he mean it? WIll it be enough? Time will tell; but Woods is at least heading in the right direction. Is it too much to ask for prayer and mercy when someone responds in this way?
Follow these steps with a humble heart and it will tame the tiger in us all.