Monday, December 14, 2009

On the nature of humanity... and Tiger Woods

Not that anyone cares... in fact this might seem like “too little, too late” to the field of pundits, commentators, and reporters who have been talking and writing, seemingly non-stop about Tiger Woods and his many indiscretions over the past couple of weeks. Adding my two cents might be just more stuff that NOBODY WANTS TO READ about a story that is getting very old, very fast to the average, everyday person.

However, The nagging in my head and heart is this... how do we sift through all the sensationalism and 24-hour reporting to work toward a Biblical and Gospel-centered response to the whole situation.

I think there are three things I want to state before you read bits and pieces of this and get the wrong idea. (we are typically very bad with context in our culture)

1 - Tiger Woods made deliberate choices to have multiple illicit sexual relationships with women other than his wife... that is bad. Adultery against one’s spouse is, in Biblical light, is a sin. Plain and simple.

2 - As much as Tiger says that He was not being “true to his values”... i don’t believe that to be a true statement. I don’t think Tiger is intentionally mis-leading... but I would argue that everyone always acts in accordance with their values and is unable to act out-of-line with those values. (more on that in a moment)

3 - Either way, Tiger, like the rest of us, stands condemned under sin and in need of a Savior. I have been moved to pray for his realization of his need for a savior and that he would find salvation in Jesus. Because ultimately, full redemption is found only in Christ’s finished and complete work on the cross.


Point #1 - Sin is sin... but we know that... at least most of us are willing to take a stand on that and agree that there is a level of wrong-ness to Tiger’s actions. I’ll leave that for another post.

Point #2 is where I want to spend most of the rest of this post.

This whole thought began in my head after reading Tiger Woods’ first statement posted on his website...

I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect.”

He says, “I have not been true to my values...” and many of us read that and say “yeah... you should be better.”

To that I would say, “No, Tiger. You are being EXACTLY & wholeheartedly true to your values.”

I would argue that it is impossible for us to NOT act in accordance to our values. Our actions & behavior might not line up with our stated values but, let me say it this way... our actions ALWAYS line-up perfectly with what we TRUELY value... what we really believe deep in our hearts.

This does not excuse the wrong-ness of his actions... The Bible is clear about sin but, in reality, he is choosing his actions based on what is true in his heart... we all do it. We are unable to choose something and act in a way that is dissonant with our values.

We CONSISTENTLY act in contrast to our stated values. But we always act in accordance with what we really believe. One needs only to look at the the stories in the past 2-3 years of pastors & politicians who have committed adultery, admitted to drug-use, and lied to cover their tracks. Their public value statement is one of morality, and faithfulness but they really believed it was ok to do what they were doing. They were acting in a way consistent with their true values.

You see... the problem in all this isn’t the actions themselves. Again, this is not to minimize sin. I stand every day before the throne of God broken and needing repentance for the wickedness of my heart which leads to wicked action... but the action isn’t the main problem... it is a symptom of believing that something else is better, or more satisfying, or more saving, or more anything than Jesus.

If I say that I believe that God is omni-present... that He is always with me... that I am never alone... and yet I step into sin by choosing a dishonest business deal, or choosing to fill my eyes and mind with airbrushed images, or choosing to destroy myself with an overuse of chemicals or hurt myself with sharp objects says that although I SAY I believe that God is always present i do not really believe that is true. If I did I would chose behaviors and act in accordance with my values... what I believe.

So we come to this... I believe Tiger acted right in-line with what he truly believes. Which points to the issue that is greater than his transgressions... His need to have his heart transformed so that he might be able to believe and TRULY value what we all SAY that we value.

2 Chronicles 6:36

Isaiah 53:6

Romans 3:23

These verses remind us that none of us is free from this problem... we struggle under this weight without victory...

However, our hope to believe God comes in Christ. Only Christ brings transformation that changes our hearts. We can’t manufacture it. We put up morality police to deal with our heart issues. Oh yes, morality police and structures of “do and don’t” will point out our sin (and that isn’t bad to point out sin when it is seen) but it won’t deal with our issue... that we will always act in accordance with what we Truly Value and without Jesus we will always choose sin. We need a savior.

Matthew 19:26 - But Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

I pray for Tiger Woods. That God would be merciful and grant his marriage restoration. They he would be repentant and seek true forgiveness from his wife and kids. I pray they his wife Elin would be soft in heart and find forgiveness in Jesus and, in Him, find forgiveness for her husband. And I am thankful for the wisdom to take a break from Golf to deal with his real life for a while... I pray He doesn’t try to fix the problem... but surrender to the creator who, from before time began, purposed to fix the problem and began the plan of redemption in the Son [Jesus], that we might be rescued from our false-belief and un-belief and, by the power of the Holy Spirit... see our terrible state and believe on Jesus.

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