I wish the New York Post would contact me today, for two reasons. First, I want to sell them my very clever headline (above, don’t miss it) for a bajillion zillion dollars. I would, of course, turn right around and give it all away to our church planters. Or buy an island in Tahiti. Or give Rick Langston a subscription to Hair Club for Men.
But the second reason I wish they’d contact me is even more important than hair follicles for our Executive Pastor. I want to give the Post one message:
Shut up about Tiger Woods.
Oh, it’s not just the Post, of course. It’s every other media outlet, pundit, and talk show host known to man. Everybody has to get their two cents in on the very fall of one of America’s athletic heroes. And I suppose in my own way, I’m doing that right now, but for a very different reason: This is not another blog post about Tiger Woods, it’s a blog post about the blog posts about Tiger Woods.
America has made an art form of the finger-pointing, tongue-wagging, media frenzy known as public disgrace. Whether it’s a televangelist or a sports super star or a naughty Hollywood mogul, we revel in the sin of others.
And I’ll be clear: Tiger messed up. Big time. What he did seriously damaged or even destroyed his marriage, his reputation, his contracts, and his career. Somewhere down the line, his seemingly innocent compromises led to disastrous ruin. He blew it.
But so have you. And so have I.
And so has every single person who gleefully reports every sordid detail of this unfolding mess. Every reporter, every anchor, every talk radio wag…all of them…and all of us…in some way live lives of a duplicitous nature. True, it might not be to the extent of Tiger, but all of us are one bad decision away from wrecking our lives.
Make no mistake, even hidden sin will be dealt with. It might be through the wrath of God as we read in Achan’s story, or it might be through the gracious covering of the cross. And in a sense, every single private sin we’ve ever committed became a huge public spectacle at Calvary. Our sin and rebellion is a big deal to God.
This is why scripture has a clear prescription for continually coming to God with our sin. It’s why we’re encouraged to confess to one another and give people permission to speak into our lives when we’re heading down the wrong track. It’s why we’re called to lives of perpetual repentance and examination of our own stuff.
It’s also why there’s a clear prescription for dealing with the result of our sin. Because we will fall, be it a huge public disgrace or an intimate sin against a holy God. We will have friends who struggle with sin. But as one of the tag lines for one of Tiger’s ads reads: it’s what we do next that counts. It’s how we deal with the sin that will speak to our love of the sinner. It’s how we move toward reconciliation that will help determine restoration.
Before you’re too quick to speak ill of Tiger Woods or even the guy next door, perhaps you should check out the scriptural prescription below. And Post, if you’re reading this, have your people call my people. Daddy needs an island.
- The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
- Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12)
- “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. (Matthew 18:15)
- How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye. (Luke 6:42)
- Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. (Galatians 6:1)