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Saturday, 12 December 2009

Casting stones?

As one of those people who thinks of a game of golf as the ruination of a good walk, I haven’t taken much interest in the ongoing saga of the marital problems that have been suffered by the champion golfer, Tiger Woods.

However, I have been fascinated by the sort of language that he is reported as having used over these past two weeks. It started off, as I recall, with his admission that he had let his family down with his “transgressions”, and not been true to either his “values” or “the behaviour [his] family deserves” with his “personal sins”. He is reported as having said that he wants to say, again, to everyone that he is “profoundly sorry” (reported in many headlines as ‘repentance’), and that he asks for “forgiveness”.

I am obviously unable to comment on the sincerity, or otherwise, of this young man’s words, but they sound more like words from a Christian evangelist’s appeal at the end his message, than those of a ‘superstar’ who has been caught cheating on his wife. Is this the product of an African-American upbringing? Was Tiger Woods raised in a “Black Gospel Church”, where he would certainly have heard the Gospel message preached with power and passion? I don’t know! However, I do know that if he is truly repentant, and can take to heart the injunction of the Lord Jesus to the woman caught in the very act of adultery, and dragged before Him by the contemporary Pharisees and teachers of the Law (haTorah): “Go now, and leave your life of sin” (Jn.8:11), and come in simple faith to the foot of the Cross, then he may claim that forgiveness that is promised to those who confess their sins (I Jn.1:9). I also hope that the use of such language by someone of his public status (however damaged at this time) will make it easier for disciples of Jesus to get the message across that “… all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom.3:20), and that we all need to repent, to lift our eyes beyond the Babe in the manger, to the Christ of the Cross and, like Thomas, fall on our knees and proclaim “My Lord, and my God.”

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