Yesterday our golfing superstar came clean and stood before the world and took responsibility for his wrong doings. I did watch the spectacle. The whole situation is quite amazing.
It is amazing because Tiger Woods is actually so inconsequential as a person and yet packs such a powerful influence. He doesn’t run an important corporation or government and almost no one (except his family, groundskeepers and yacht stewards, of course) is directly affected by what he does. And yet half the world stops everything and hangs on his every word. I guess it is the drama of it all? Why? It is difficult to fathom what all is going on in our heads. It gets at the truth that we do have influence over other people – often beyond what we deserve or think. Our actions as individuals, and especially as Christians – for good or ill – are very important.
It is amazing because it was quite a good apology. It has been noted that these kinds of apologies have become more and more frequent and important for celebrities as part of their image rehabilitation after they have made mistakes. Questions abound, though. Did Tiger apologize because he was truly sorry? Or because he wants to rehab his image and get on with his career? Perhaps it was both? Is it wrong to want to rehab an “image” and get on with a brilliant career? And here is the question for us as Christians: Why aren’t these kinds of apologies observed in our congregations? Is this not what true and Godly repentance demands of us? Why is a public apology necessary for Tiger Woods’ rehabilitation, but repulsive to us as Christians, something to be avoided at all cost?
It is also quite amazing that this nation still holds out an image of the perfect “family man” as being faithful to his wife. And then it is amazing how hard the nation punishes the person who at one point defines that image – and then defiles it! I wonder why more folks don’t aspire to that image? It is a Godly one! Is the reason we don’t aspire to that image because we don’t want to suffer the consequences when we decide not to live up to it? Why are we “regular folk” (the ones giving out the judgements on Tiger) so cavalier about our own divorce and unfaithfulness? Tiger frequently referred to the gravity of the hurt that his unfaithfulness caused to his wife and children. He is right! Then why is it that in so many of the divorces that I have come to know no one thinks of these things as important. It is just like he said himself: he was only thinking of himself and what he thought he deserved.
It was amazing that Tiger brought into discussion his religious beliefs as a Buddhist, and how he betrayed the religion he was brought up in. He was correct in describing the Buddhist belief that trouble in life is caused by worldly desires. To be a good Buddhist is to purge yourself of all worldly desires. Of course, as some political commentator pointed out a few weeks ago to a great public outcry, there is no salvation in Buddhism. It was interesting that Tiger Woods stated plainly that he had a big job in “atoning” for his mistakes. The problem is that there is no way he could ever do that. The damage has been so great. The only “atoning” that can be done is the atonement of Jesus Christ on a cross 2000 years ago!
A final thought (although I am sure you know could go on and on with this): in the local paper editorial this morning it was stated that what Tiger really needed to do is to get back on the course. There were other similar opinions raised yesterday in the press that it was silly for him to stay off the course and focus on his personal life. In these statements everyone is betraying the fact that no one is really concerned about Tiger – only about how we can all be thrilled to see him back on the course again. I would suggest that if we were really concerned about Tiger and his family we should just tell him to put away his clubs for good – as quite obviously (as he himself suggested it) his success on the course was the main cause of his unfaithfulness.