Why pile on Tiger?
I’d say commentary doesn’t have to pile on; commentary can be cruel, or it can be full of grace. But people are going to be caught up in the current events surrounding the world’s most famous golfer, so there’s an opportunity to for each of us to engage others, and our own hearts, as we consider how we are reacting to this news.
What was your first thought when you heard the news? I’m not surprised—just another celebrity fooling around on his wife? How dare he—doesn’t he know he’s a role model to millions? I wonder if I can find pictures of his mistresses? If I were his wife, I’d leave him? Who am I to judge; nobody’s perfect?
I think any one of these reactions would be normal. Even when I try to consider my reaction in the Spirit, I still find a number of competing responses: Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone; Judge not, that you be not judged; Judge with right judgment.
So it’s hard to know whether or not we should have an opinion, and it’s even harder to know if we should voice it. More daunting than this is the realization that our enemy is feeding during a time like this. Peter tells us Satan “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). And this lion is certainly devouring Tiger, as Tiger wraps his apologies in a veneer of self-justification.
But he’s feasting on us as well when our words reflect anything other than the sweet-tasting fruit of the Spirit. If Satan can get Tiger to cheat on his wife and try to cover it up, that’s great for him. But if he can get tens of thousands of us arguing with each other, saying things like, “Who are you to judge? Nobody’s perfect; we’re only human,” or “What’s the big deal? Athletes do this all the time,” or “You know, it’s those women who are throwing themselves at him—they’re to blame,” then we’re just another meal.
This is where Jesus lays grace on the table, and when we feast on it, we’re no longer fit for consumption. Satan has no stomach for grace; he can’t and won’t eat it. So James tells us to “resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
I think grace-filled humility looks like several things in this situation. It means acknowledging that God is the ultimate and supreme judge, and that all of us will come under His judgment. It means then taking every judgmental thought we have (and we have them all the time) to lay them in repentance at the foot of the cross, turning our eyes inward to remove the logs in our own eyes so we can see clearly to remove the speck in our brother’s. It means we can judge righteously with clarity of sight, not passing over moral transgression as if it doesn’t matter, but not neglecting the knowledge that we judge in the Spirit so the body of Christ may be built up. And it means praying for many, including Tiger and ourselves, to “repent and believe in the gospel…the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15).
Ultimately, piling on Tiger really looks like joining the global heap of sinners in need of a Savior. So if Jesus is our greatest treasure and delight, let us be grateful He has prepared a better meal for us: the Bread of Life to be consumed for His glory and our joy. And if Jesus is nothing more than a man, or even simply fire insurance, then let us fall at His knees, declaring Him the one true judge, asking that we may come to dine at His glorious table of grace.