What Tiger Woods' Major Win Revealed In Us
I’m not sure what you think about Tiger Woods. The reaction ranges from iconic global athlete to iconic troubled athlete.
I read a Proverb every day. This week on Monday, April 15, while reading my Proverb, it became prophetic for me. It is a passage of scripture that I call the ‘Twitter Proverb’.
‘A soft answer turns away wrath. But a harsh word stirs up anger.’ -Solomon, Proverbs 15.1
And it got me thinking about a comment I would hear later in the day on Monday from a man behind me where I was renting a bike for the day. It was especially poignant because Monday was the day after The Master’s golf tournament where Tiger Woods won a Major for the first time in 11 years.
Here’s the set-up. The struggle of Woods’ life is chronicled pretty clearly. A broken marriage, public scandal, addiction to pain killers, several serious injuries and multiple surgeries, and a back that was finally fused. For most athletes that would sound the end of their career as a professional. Certainly all of these struggles brought a heavy toll on Woods.
There weren’t many people who thought that Tiger Woods would ever win a Major again:
‘He is not ever gonna win another tournament.’ –Woody Paige, ESPN
‘The short game is gone and his health is gone.’ –Stephen A. Smith, ESPN
“The next press release for Tiger Woods should be ‘I’m retiring.’” –Jemelle Hill, ColorLines Magazine
‘I have considered him now for the last 5 or 6 years as a former golfer.’ –Colin Cowherd, FOX
‘The Tiger Woods we all knew, he will never be that guy again.’ –Shannon Sharpe, FOX
The list of doubters goes on.
But, that backdrop is the perfect set-up. Because this past weekend Woods comes back from everything that he went through the last 11 years and shocks us all. And this story has become the number one news story of the past few days. Why? It has all the drama. A rise to fame as a youth golfer, winning 14 Majors and chasing Jack Nicklaus for all-time wins (18), his father passing away right before a Major win years ago, and all of the personal and health issues that brought him to his lowest moment. And then Woods’ 15th Major win this weekend.
I was renting a bike for the day in Southern California on Monday and a man behind me made the statement, ‘Tiger Woods is disgusting. I cannot even look at him. Why is everyone rooting for him?’ I turned around with a look of disbelief and thought to myself, what a bummer to even think like that.
But this is where many of us are at today. Everyone is a nay-sayer. We default to pessimism.
I want to challenge you in the blog this week about grace. Look at these texts on the subject:
Psalm 103 defines the way God sees our relationship with Him. He uses phrases like ‘forgives all your iniquities’, ‘crowns you with mercies’, ‘redeems your life’, ‘abounding in loving-kindness’, and ‘He has removed our transgressions’. If God thinks that way about us, shouldn’t we think that way about others?
Ephesians 2.8 that ‘It is by grace that we are saved, not of ourselves; but it is the gift of God.’ We cannot earn grace. Grace is given to us.
The weight of sin and disobedience to God is a heavy burden. Most people bury themselves under the failure and cannot forgive themselves. And because of this self-hate, we should not be adding to the weight of sin and guilt by our reaction to people and their failure. We must live graceful and in relationship with this generation and offer them the genuine love that is needed when they feel the despair of not measuring up.
Our REACTION to the growing shame in our culture is vital to our RELATIONSHIP with this culture. Don’t blush. Don’t laugh. Don’t judge. Just love.
When you hear about the failure in someone’s life, don’t blush in embarrassment. When someone is caught in sin and they have been exposed, don’t laugh and say ‘I told you so.’ When a person recovers from disobedience to God and walks in blessing, don’t judge them that they aren’t deserving of a blessing. When you hear of these things our first reaction is love.
What Are We Famous For?
In the book 'Un-Christian', by David Kinnaman of the Barna Group, he was talking about how quick Christians can be to judge others.
“...the vast majority of outsiders have been to Christian churches and have heard the message of Christ. What they react negatively to is our 'swagger.' We (Christians) have become famous for what we oppose, rather than who we are for." -Kinnaman, p. 26
Of course, we must be committed to the principles. To the truth. After all, John said that we minister Christ in both grace and truth. Let’s learn to balance each of these. Because to walk in only truth but no grace will result in losing our relationship with people. Yet, to walk in grace and no truth will result in losing people to a relationship with God. Use both grace and truth to share the principles that everyone is looking for.
The church has become too good at judgement and exercised very little grace. We need a supernatural move of the Spirit to infuse the church with grace of Jesus. That we would be as excited about grace as we are truth. Because the pressure in society is pervasive. It hits our young people from a few real ways:
The constant measurement is laid out before young people. There is a hidden expectation. Well, it's not really hidden or unspoken anymore. The pressure to wear a certain thing, to have a certain possession, to talk a certain way, to live in a certain place, or to have a certain friend. If we do not measure up to this 'standard' then we are out of the norm.
Even though they are all living under the same pressure, they measure each other with the unrealistic expectations. And because of the proximity of their relationship with their peers, they never get away from it. The fact that young people are always around each other in school (6 hours) and on social media/screens (10 hours) daily, they never flee the pressure.
And all of this pressure and thinking shapes who they are. And creates in young people a mentality they are trying to flee. That they can never measure up and so they hate themselves. And can barely look in the mirror.
What are we going to be famous for? I know that all of the sociological studies done in the past decade say that this generation is the one that wants to succeed more than at any time in history. They are magna- super- and extra- hyped to achieve.
Beyond their older siblings, their parents, and even their grand-parents. Millennials and GenZ want to succeed and produce. Why? Because all of us before them have driven them to be great. And the pressure never stops. And the expectation never ceases. And we have turned this on to each other. So what do we do? Here are some questions that we should ask ourselves to gauge our balance of grace and truth:
· What is our reaction to the sin in someone’s life? Judgement or relationship?
· Do we allow in our own lives the things we would never allow in someone else’s life?
· Are we spending as much time in grace as we are truth? Or do we walk predominantly in only one?
· Do we point out ways people can recover or discipline their lives more than we point out their sin?
· Have you become as disgusted about the sin in your own life as you are the sin in others?
· Do you believe that anyone, anyone, can be born again? Even the furthest heart.
Think of it this way. A Major League baseball player can strike-out, ground-out, and fly-out 70% of the time and still be an all-star! Amazing isn’t it? The best baseball players in the world will only get on base 30% of the time. They will only be successful 30% of their career. Yet, they could be considered one of the all-time greats in the sport.
With that in mind, I wonder what kind of pressure we place on ourselves and others when it comes to our walk with God? Are we willing to lower the expectations while at the same time raising the principles? It may be the greatest challenge of this generation in the Church.