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Tiger Woods: What Should Have Been Done

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I was reading on Rush Limbaugh’s web site that he and many others knew of Tiger Woods’ acts of serial adultery. While reading Galatians backwards last night (try it sometime with all the books of the Bible), I was struck with the opening verses of Galatians 6:

Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

If Tiger’s friends knew what he was doing, they should have taken him aside and, “with gentleness” (at first), reminded him that golf is a job that can be walked away from, “the pleasures of sin are for a season” (Heb. 11:25), but a covenant with his wife and children is forever. His friends, some of whom were undoubtedly Christians, should have reminded Tiger that God’s laws are not different for the talented and blessed. In fact, at the most basic level, Tiger Woods is no better than the rest of us. “For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself” (Gal. 6:3). They could have also appealed to him on the consequences of his sinful actions: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (6:8–9).

Most people are reluctant to say anything to such a high-tiered celebrity like Tiger Woods. He has few peers and is purposely insulated because of his fame and fortune. Millions of dollars have been invested in him. He is the proverbial gravy train for dozens of companies. Their reluctance to say anything was motivated by self-interest. Would Tiger sign with them again if some executive who knew of his dalliances confronted him with the rumors?

Approaching Woods about his behavior would not have been easy. Of course, the approach, as in the game of golf itself, is very important. Coming across as a “holier-than-thou” finger pointer is not the way to approach a business or professional associate. Maybe Tiger had been approached. As this saga unwinds, we may find out that someone was willing to put his reputation and career on the line for doing the right but unpopular thing. We operate in a day of live-and-let-live. How many times have you heard the out-of-context admonition “don’t judge” (Matt. 7:1) thrown in your face? It’s possible that the golf circuit is a sexual free-for-all, so Matthew 7:2 came into play: “Who are you to judge, since you’re doing it too?”

Those who knew and remained silent have some blame to share. It was their duty to confront Tiger no matter what the consequences might have been to their careers. Restoration is always the goal in biblical confrontation. When it takes place, everyone is a winner.

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