Monday, April 9, 2012

The Tiger and Me

Many of you probably witnessed or at least read about the antics of Tiger Woods during the Friday round of the Masters golf tournament. I as many of you--if the sports press is at all representative--was apalled and disgusted by his immature tantrums. It was quite easy for me to join the throng sitting in the stands of the great arena of Augusta in turning my thumb downwards as the once great gladiator forfieted his virtues. It would not be an overstatement to admit a certain satisfaction in doing so. But when I looked into the eyes of our risen Lord, it was plain to see I am a fraud.

There is only one good reason to celebrate Tiger's downfall, and that is the hope that perhaps this time he would come to see that his selfish-ambition/conceit isn't working for him; indeed, as with all of us, it is slowly extracting his soul. Thus, the term 'celebrate' is a wrong one I use in this case purely for effect. The destruction of any human being is nothing to celebrate. God does not want that any person should perish, but to repent (i.e., change one's mind--turn around and go the other way) and be healed. This should be our sole objective and desire if we call ourselves followers of Christ. Unfortunately, this was not my default motivation this past weekend--particularly disturbing because of the weekend it was.

No, a few non-virtuous attitudes drove my passions this weekend before mercy managed to fight its way to the top. First, I liked seeing him fail because I saw it as justice for cheating on his wife and not really being contrite about it. Second, remembering all those arrogent sportos of my childhood who made my life miserable during Junior high school, I enjoyed seeing them humiliated vicariously through the once great golfer. Lastly, and perhaps most despicable of all, as one frustrated by his own inability to attain the standard he aspires to, I felt a little satisfaction at watching such a great talent fail to reach his.

I can hear some of my good friends now: "Oh, quit your whining--leave the pity party, PLEASE; it's very unbecoming." But it's not that at all. I suppose a little of self stills creeps in even during the type of self-examination you are made privy here; it's inescapable because of the depth of the fall that Christ is redeeming us from. But we will never be redeemed if we are unwilling to consider those motivations the Holy Spirit exposes as unhealthy; this is how the grace of transformation works; it is at the core of Saint Paul's admonition to us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. We all need, daily, to open the ledgers of our lives and read what's written in the margins because these are God's annotations. The main text is what we have written, and if we dwell there all we will see is our perspective. And our perspective will always make us out the hero and the martyr. But God's notes tell us the truth about ourselves, with the object of our reclamation.

My self-disclosure is not self-pity but an open confession: a first step in repentance, and a call to my friends to hold me accountable to what God has taught me about myself this past weekend that--I need not remind you--commemorated both His death and resurrection. It is also meant to encourage my readers to stop and listen to the entreaties of the Holy Spirit that work to perfect them in holiness and love if they will listen and obey. Finally, this blog serves once again as a call to all of us to extend the hand of mercy and not condemnation to those we encounter who continue to walk in darkness.

It is not about us so much, my dear friends, but King Jesus who wants everyone to enter his kingdom and dwell with Him forever.


sara anne kokko said...

....evidence of yet another of the zillion reasons i love you so dearly...well said, again, my love....thanks for sharing your heart...

Jeff said...

Tiger's anger and our glee at it have the same basic source - selfishness! If Tiger was worried about using his talent to serve the Lord a missed shot would not be a temper tantrum moment but a moment of prayer. Maybe we would pray for Tiger if our hearts were in the kingdom too! Good post Bruce! Safe Travels!