Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Reflecting on the Apparent Life of Tiger Woods
I have had a variety of "talks" with my oldest son about sex (albeit, through the consideration of whitetail deer breeding practices as part of hunting strategy) this past 6 months. My hunting escapades caused him to ask some questions thus allowing him to put two and two together. In the summer months I took him with me to prepare some tree stands on one of the properties I hunt. While we were working he asked me some questions about whitetail hunting strategy. I explained the difference between placing a stand you plan to hunt in the early season when the bucks are in bachelor groups and during "the rut" (whitetail mating season) when they are out on their own aggressively cruising for receptive does. To make a long, uncomfortable story short, he has figured out that whitetail bucks don't chase does just because they want to wrestle or play. I have a book on whitetail biology he has paged through, he basically understands the mating/birthing process of whitetail deer. I know the clock is ticking for him to ask me more pointed questions about human sexuality, so I am praying that Jesus comes back first.
Anyways, recently when we were hunting together he asked me why deer don't stay in family groups. He can see that bucks chase and breed as many different does as they can for what amounts to a 6-week period every Fall. Otherwise the bucks pay no attention to does. Furthermore, bucks could care less about fawns. They have nothing to do with guarding or nurturing does or fawns. Bucks and does essentially live apart except for the 6-week mating season when a whitetail buck almost kills himself trying to breed every receptive doe he can find. This is how God wired deer to survive. They are animals. That's what they do. There is no restraint, just unbridled testosterone that is willing to die to mate.
Basically, this is how Tiger Woods seems to be acting. Obviously I don't know if he has actually had affairs with the eleven women currently being linked to him, but quite frankly, if even half that number is true, it's staggering. In the realm of sexuality, Tiger has been acting like an animal and it's saddening and disappointing to learn.
Now, before I come off as better than Tiger, let me be clear- by all indications (and I don't just mean his behavior) Tiger is not a Christian. Human sexuality is a total broken mess apart from the redemption that only God can give through Christ. Even after a person trusts Christ and is made a new creation, he or she will battle with the brokenness of their sexuality at some level and in some way. Sexual brokenness is worse for some, but every person is messed up sexually, such is a burdensome vestige of the Fall. The truth is, I don't know what I would do if I had the looks, power, money, and connections that Tiger has. I might well do the very same thing he has done, I am making NO statement of judgment in this post except to say that Tiger has been acting like an animal...and so could all of us apart from the redeeming and sustaining grace of God through Christ.
When I see a case like Tiger Woods I am at first disgusted, then sad for his wife, children, mother, etc. Then I get upset at the example he is for millions of people, no matter how much the pundits want to tell us "he is not a role model". Then, upon further reflection I am set back by how weak we are. How weak I am. I just know it is only the grace of God that keeps me from all manner of habitual, addictive, life-destroying sins. I battle gluttony. I battle lust. I battle anger. If I struggle like I do, how does a person void of the Holy Spirit live? Frankly, Tiger didn't battle, he is doing what comes sinfully natural- he is following his fleshly passions. Honestly, the fall of Tiger Woods (and he is falling, make no mistake) is a tragic thing to watch because he represents, at some level, the potential all of us sinners have.
What's the answer? How should we react to the Tiger Woods fall? As Christians, the answer is once again the same- the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The same gospel- the payment for my sins by Jesus on the Cross and the giving of His righteousness to me so I can be an adopted son and new creation-is what has restored a level of control and perspective over my sinful (animal-like) passions. I don't begrudge Tiger Woods or think of him as somehow lesser than me. He just hasn't been freed from the slavery to his fleshly lusts. Even this side of redemption I struggle with fleshly lust, don't we all? For the person without the Holy Spirit though, eventually the seeds of the flesh sown will reap an awful, corrupt, and rotten fruit.
Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
I make no promise that I would not do what Tiger Woods has apparently done or something worse. I am so very grateful to God for the gospel's transforming power in my life, but I'm not kidding myself about the powerful pull of sin either. The same gospel of grace that has brought me new life also works to preserve and guard me from sin's slavish strangle hold. I always need this grace, every minute. It is in such grace that I stand. But make no mistake, it is by grace that I do not fall, not by anything I have done or am doing.
My prayer is for Tiger Woods to come to Christ before His sinful passions destroy him completely and eternally.