Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Saving Tigers...Penance to Repentance and everything else.

Related to my last post but not directly related I have found sadness lately in watching the downfall of many. The world stopped to watch Tiger apologize. The view they had once had of Tiger was altered by a new found reality, he is a sinful human being. He allowed fame and riches to make him think he could do whatever he wanted and acted on it in a very inappropriate way. He hurt his wife and children and also let so many down who held him up as a hero.

I found it sad driving home the other day that my image of Tiger is altered. I thought I will never think of him again as a great guy who is a model husband and a sports star who does not let fame go to his head. No I am forever altered and I was saddened by that. That made me think about all the debates people have had lately. The huge debate of whether he is truly sorry or not.

Here is what I really think. People wanted the image they had of Tiger to come back. They wanted someone to wake us up and say it was all a nightmare. They wanted someone to tell us go back to sleep it is 1985...not 1955. Whether we knew it or not, we pretended like it didn't happen until he got up and confessed it. It's like OJ, as long as he said he didn't do it there was a chance he didn't. Sadly last week we had to accept that our image of the Tiger we once knew was gone.

Some of you skeptics might say who cares. I never watched golf or cared about the sport. I don't care about how Tiger is portrayed or who is. But by the fact that the stock market stopped during his speech means we cared. Tiger changed the game of golf and made more people care about the sport. He brought this clean cut well mannered nature to the game. He truly altered the game and I think gave some of us hope that good celebs were out there. Then he had his Joshua 7 moment, where he was revealed with all of his hidden sins. I cannot even imagine how Tiger felt that day.

I recently had people argue about how he shouldn't have a second chance and in a way he should suffer. I also had people who know I like John Mayer challenge me on his latest interview. Mayer spoke inappropriately about different races and about ex-girlfriends. I know Mayer speaks without using his head all the time. He admitted it on VH1 storytellers. I realize it doesn't make it right but just shows me that all these people we respect and maybe even look up to let us down.

This is a sad tough reality to deal with. As children we grow up with super heroes, who never let us down. They start out being our fathers, until at one point or another they let us down. We move on to fictional characters and then to non-fictional pop stars or well known people. Until...yes, until they let us down. When this moment happens what do we expect??

Do we want penance or repentance? Penance is the act of doing something or suffering for our act of sin. Repentance is remorse and the turning from our sin. What I believe one of the most misunderstood pieces of theology is, after teaching teenagers, God looks at all sins the same. This is true in his true essence but often we have added our own thoughts onto it. Meaning because all sin is forgivable, except denying the Holy Spirit which is truly denying God anyway, that since it is all forgivable all consequences are the same.

This is not the case God specifically talks through Paul how he set-up the government over us. The laws have implications on our lives and Jesus even talks about the only reason to divorce is because of infidelity. The consequence for that kind of act of unfaithfulness could potentially be divorce.

We want to force penance on these stars. Is it our job to decide their punishment like we will never forgive them again? Naturally each of us lost respect for Tiger by his actions (a natural consequence) but do we punish him also? Do we cross our arms and say I will never forgive him and he should never play golf again? Does Tiger feel enough pain from Elin and his mother and of course his kids? Clinton cheated, Nixon lied, Jordan gambled, J. Williams killed people, R. Williams did drugs, that guy from Oregon punched somebody, Tiger cheated 17 times, and Milli Vanilli lip sung (?).

If so I should never be forgiven also. Matthew 5 makes it clear I fail when it comes to the law and that's why I have Jesus. I need him to fulfill the law for me. Sure many people in my life have made major mistakes naturally altering the image I had of them. Thankfully even though there are consequences on earth, God looks at sin all the same in the fact it is all forgivable. He made one way for all of us to make it to heaven no matter what earthly consequences we have faced.

I am saddened that Tiger was not more faithful and that Mayer spoke without thinking but neither of them have Jesus. I spend so much time in guilt or analyzing how I can be a better man, to have someone else push penance on me is such a painful thing. To have someone encourage me or challenge me or keep me accountable is a beautiful thing. I pray God continues to provide each of you with accountability partners and forgivers in your life to challenge and encourage. His love for ALL of us is so great...He knows how to love those who have been hurt by sin at the same time He is loving those who committed the sin. Now that is an awesome God.