I didn’t want this to be my first real post since returning from South Africa, but I couldn’t help it after I heard the news about Tiger Woods. Yesterday, Omaha World Herald columnist Tom Shatel wrote a short blog about Tiger. In the post, Shatel said:
[The media] weren’t there for Mickey Mantle or Paul Hornung or the countless other sports heroes who hopped from bed to bed. Nobody knew. Nobody cared. The press took better care of them. That’s the way it goes. But if a kid wants a role model, it should be his parents.
Will this stick with Tiger? I say no way. Sports fans don’t care about steroids or drug use and there are many who don’t hold gambling against Pete Rose. Infidelity is way down on the list of the sins that make sports fans cringe. Heck, many of the red-blooded American males I’ve talked to this week are actually proud of Tiger’s ever-growing harem. They say, “You’re Tiger Woods, why would you even get married?” Infidelity is accepted more often than not in this country, and around the world for that matter. Tiger will escape from this. He’ll pay the piper in terms of millions of dollars. But this will all go away eventually, if not sooner (my emphasis).
I normally love Shatel’s thoughts, appreciate his humor, and respect his morals. But he’s wrong in this case. Oh, he’s right that infidelity is accepted more often than not around the world. But does that mean Tiger can escape? Does that mean he can buy his way out of this one? Does it mean that if he wins the Master’s next year by coming back from two strokes on Sunday people will forget? Will this really “go away eventually”? In a worldly sense, maybe. But in the words of Maximus, from Gladiator: “What we do in life echoes in eternity.”
The glorious truth is that Tiger doesn’t have to “pay the piper in terms of millions of dollars.” The truth is that the piper has already been paid, and it was paid on Calvary by Jesus Christ when he shed his blood for the sins of the world, including Tiger’s adultery. All Tiger has to do is confess and repent and trust in Jesus. That’s all anyone has to do. The debt has been paid for him, for you, and for me. So, to the Christian reader: God is offering Jesus to Tiger. Are you? After all, you and I still need Jesus, too.
There is the other hand, of course, which is the hard truth that if Tiger does not repent, his sins will not just go away. Not eventually. Not ever. And this is true for you and me as well. People might forget. But a holy God does not. The sins of those who do not repent will cause them to suffer under God’s wrath for eternity in hell. But on the cross, the Son took the Father’s wrath and satisfied it, so that whoever looks to him and believes will be saved.
God is loving and just. He hates sin and punishes those who are unrepentant. But he freely offers grace to every single person — including Tiger Woods — and whoever would have it will be saved.
What Tiger needs most is not a mulligan. He needs a Savior. Just like everyone else.