Second to The Masters tournament itself, Tiger Woods has been the center of attention this past week. It should be stated from the outset that many, many are pleased in Phil Mickelson’s win. He seems to be a fine man, devoted to his wife, and humble in character. Somewhere in the shadow of Mickelson’s victory, however, is Tiger Woods.
When Tiger won his first Masters he was 21 scoring 12 under par (I am not sure what that means) which at the time set a record for the course and he was the first African-American to win a major golf event. That was in 1997. Since that time Tiger Woods has dominated attention both on the golf course and off. There is no need to repeat the last four months of sad news related to Tiger Woods. Needless to say, his return to the golf course has been met by cheers, jeers, planes, and pundits
Many people love him; many people revile him; and many people just ignore him. I have wondered what it must be like to live as Tiger Woods: every expression analyzed; every action judged; and every decision questioned. Now he is back and although he did not win The Masters he is still indisputably a great golfer. I sat there amazed that he could even focus long enough to finish a round of golf with all the world watching.
What can we learn about ourselves through Tiger Woods? He who is without sin cast the first golf ball? Issues of choices, sin, passing judgment and consequences come to mind. So do redemption, restoration and hope. Tiger Woods is just a human being, like you and me, in need of the same salvation that cannot be earned, merited or entitled.
Tiger Woods is teaching me what it means to be humble with God’s abundant grace in my own life. I am not implying Tiger is himself humble or not – there is no way I can pass that kind of judgment. I only know that all of my mistakes, poor decisions, and profane thoughts are not shared before the world. Each day I am allowed to breathe into the fresh grace of God.
It can be hard to love people in spite of what they do and say. Yet we love anyway knowing that we are loved too in spite of what we do and say. I would like to tell Tiger Woods that, but perhaps more importantly I should tell those that I see every day that they are loved. God loves each of us too much for any of us to live in the mistakes and sins of our past. To love is to believe in the future.