Friday, February 19, 2010

Are We Out of the Woods Yet?

I am probably among the few who has not seen or listened to the Tiger Woods’ apology. I have little or no interest and really felt no need to hear it. In truth, I know relatively few of the details of his transgressions. From the little snippets I have heard on news radio over the last few months while driving home from work, I take it he was unfaithful to his wife and family.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that situations like this don’t sadden me deeply. Marriage is sacred. And I grieve over those who are deeply hurt when one or more partners break their vow. Even when in the midst of the wreckage of the relationship both partners bravely attempt to forgive, mend and restore, it has to be terribly painful.

This is one reason I had little interest in the public apology. To whom in the public does he need to apologize? Yes, I suppose he should issue an apology to those whom he let down because they had looked to him as a role model. But this is more of a sad commentary on our society, where we elevate and lionize people who can run fast, score goals, break records or get a silly 1” diameter ball to fall into a hole with the fewest strokes possible. As impressive as these feats are, are they really the makings of a role model?

Though I studiously avoided reading or listening to recordings of “the apology” I did hear a lot of chatter today from pundits discussing whether or not Woods’ apology was earnest and whether it was enough for him to re-emerge as a major PGA golfer. Again, that is totally irrelevant. Even if he was totally insincere, I am sure that lying philanderers can still play a mean game of golf.

What I am more interested in is whether Tiger was earnest in his apology to his wife and family, whom he has hurt very deeply. And even this is none of my business. I have no standing to judge the sincerity of Tiger Woods’ confession, because there but for the grace of God go I. But for his sake I hope he was and is sincere; I wish him and his family the very best.

Beyond his family, there is Someone whom Tiger Woods has offended even more deeply, and not just by this most recent and sensational shortcoming. When King David was confronted with an even more sensational sin--having committed adultery with Bathsheeba and quietly arranged the death of her husband , Uriah the Hittite (who happened to be one of his most loyal soldiers)-- he had a lot of confessing and apologizing to do at the human level. But He also knew that he had deeply offended God. In his prayer of repentance, David cried out to God:

Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge.[i]

As much as it is good and right to confess and make amends to those whom we have sinned against, ultimately all sin is against God, and we are ultimately accountable to Him. And lest we think this does not apply to us because our transgressions might not seem as spectacular as those of Tiger Woods, sacred Scripture tells us otherwise: “There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”[ii] Until we acknowledge our desperate need for God’s forgiveness, we will never be out of the woods.

[i] Psalms 51:4, New International Version (NIV)
[ii] Romans 3:22b-23, NIV

1 comment:

Grateful4Grace said...

Well said, and a good reminder, thanks