What We Can Learn From Tiger Woods

Fame can be a blessing and a curse. Just ask Tiger Woods.

As a result of his fame—and golfing prowess—Tiger has earned in excess of $1 billion. And in spite of his ardent efforts to hide his personal life from the media, his fame has thrust his personal struggles onto the world stage.

Nearly every person in the western world—perhaps on the planet—knows many of the intimate details of Tigers’ sexual escapades. More than what anyone should know. And last week, photos were broadcast showing Tiger at a clinic for sex addicts.

While Tiger has become fodder for countless late night TV jokes, my heart goes out to him. First, I realize that his personal life is in shambles. What a prime opportunity for him to meet the one person who can cleanse him completely from his sin. But secondly, I also know that I’m as susceptible as Tiger. It’s hard to laugh at Tiger when I know it could be me. All of us are capable of committing the most heinous sin.

So what can we learn from Tiger?

Join me in today’s reading and find out.

TODAY’S READING

Exodus 2:11-3:22
Matthew 17:10-27
Psalm 22:1-18
Proverbs 5:7-14

INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS

Exodus 2:11. I don’t know if this fits in today’s reading or yesterday’s reading, but I’m struck by God’s providence in preparing Moses to lead Israel. By growing up in Pharaoh’s household, he was given the best education in the world. He was exposed to world cultures, trained in rhetoric (public speaking), and instructed in warfare. Years later when he returned from the desert to convince Pharaoh to let Israel leave the country, he intimately knew the Egyptian culture, language and mindset of the person he was addressing.

Exodus 2:12-15. The Bible Background Commentary explains why Pharaoh was so angry with Moses: “Egyptians maintained a substantial sense of ethnic pride that caused them to consider foreigners inferior. For a foreigner to kill an Egyptian was a great crime.”

Exodus 2:14. Did you catch the irony of the man’s statement? Someday Moses would become the Hebrews’ ruler and judge.

Exodus 2:16. Women weren’t normally shepherds because they could be bullied by male shepherds. Usually, this indicated that there were no brothers in the family, which meant the family line would come to an end and there would be no provision for the parents when they were older.

Exodus 3:1. I never caught this before. Chapter 2 refers to Reuel and chapter 3 refers to Jethro as the father of Zipporah. Here’s how the Bible Background Commentary explains it: “Perhaps Reuel is the grandfather head of the clan, Jethro is the father of Zipporah and technically the father-in-law of Moses, and Hobab is the brother-in-law of Moses, Jethro’s son. Alternatively, Jethro and Hobab could both be brothers-in-law, and Reuel the father.”

Exodus 3:18. Initially, Moses wasn’t requesting that the Hebrews emigrate to Canaan. He was only requesting that they go to the desert for three days to worship God.

Matthew 17:10. What a short verse with powerful implications. After meeting this demonized boy, we read that “Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment.” No yelling. No jumping up and down. Jesus simply rebuked the demon and it departed. That’s authority.

Matthew 17:24. The annual two-drachma tax, which was equivalent to two days’ wages, paid for the upkeep of the Temple. The collectors asked if he paid it because Jesus was known as somewhat of a renegade. Although he didn’t see the need to pay it, he still did because he didn’t want to offend anyone.

Psalm 22. Try singing this psalm in church sometime. I’ll comment on this later in Psalms, but most Christians and churches do a lousy job of grieving and crying out to God.

Psalm 22:1. Jesus uttered these words on the cross (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34).

Psalm 22:16-18. The New Testament writers viewed these verses as a prophetic reference to Jesus (John 19:24, Matthew 27:35, Luke 23:34).

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THE WORD MADE FRESH

I find it interesting that an entire chapter of Proverbs is dedicated to the allure of sexual sin—especially as a preface to the book. While a sin like any other, sexual sin carries deep consequences which can destroy a life—unlike nearly any other.

In his warning, Solomon advises us in Proverbs 5:8 to “Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house.” The writer is referring to an adulterous woman, but it assuredly applies to any sort of sexual sin.

The Apostle Paul reiterates this advice in 1 Corinthians 6:18: “Flee from sexual immortality.” Here’s the Klassen paraphrase of this passage: Run like hell from sexual sin.

We need to “keep a path far from her” because when we play with its thoughts or images too long, we cross the point of no return. Our sexual desire takes over.

I can’t answer for Tiger, but I wonder if he had run like hell from sexual sin earlier in his life, he might not be in the predicament that he’s in.

Obviously, God created sex for our enjoyment…in its proper context. But out of context, it can destroy a life.

Just ask Tiger Woods.

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. How did today’s reading speak to your heart?
  2. Are you ever hesitant to tell God what you feel? Why?
  3. If psalms were written to be sung by the congregation, why don’t we sing songs like Psalm 22 in church?
  4. Do you read the news articles about Tiger’s troubles? Why?
  5. How do you “keep a path” far from sexual sin? Does it work?

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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado.

3 Comments

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3 responses to “What We Can Learn From Tiger Woods

  1. Mike

    Michael, your comment that the seed of every sin is within us just waiting to grow into a huge plant (my translation of your comment) is perhaps the first step to embracing the wisdom of Proverbs. One of my thoughts on this was as a pastor doing marriages, it seems that every couple is already living together before marriage. Usually they have had other relationships as well. Sort of Tiger Woods light – and quite acceptable in our culture. The deeper issue is usually missed. What do multiple sexual relationships do to our ability to focus on one person, to trust one person, and be deeply satisified with one person for life? Consider the debilitating effect of pornography on marriage and relationships. Sexual relationship with another person makes us one with that person. Paul surely tackles this in I Cor. 6. Yet every day people who have been one with many enter into what is meant to be a monogomous and life-long relationship. Can, or does Jesus heal such memories and how can we minister to the many Tiger Woods among us?

  2. Wow, Mike. Thanks for your input and questions. Like you, I believe our highly sexualized culture is setting up our culture for HUGE problems. The Free Love revolution of the 1970s was just the beginning. Teenagers today are experimenting in ways that would have horrified my generation.
    Giving our hearts to people who engaged in multiple sexual relationships affects our ability to connect and to love. Pornography, which is becoming acceptable in society, does the same thing.
    The good news is, because Jesus died on the cross for our sins, we can be forgiven. But also, we can be healed of our brokenness.
    If national trends can be applied here, likely half of the people reading this blog are struggling with some sort of sexual addiction. If any of you need help, I suggest talking to your pastor or a spiritual person you trust. Bringing your struggles into the light is the first step in finding freedom. But then ask God to set you free from your addiction. According to 2 Peter 1:3, God has given everything we need for life and godliness.
    Would anyone else like to add to this?
    Michael J. Klassen

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