I can't resist weighing in. I am deeply saddened by what I hear in the media regarding Tiger Woods. Just yesterday, I heard an "expert" talk about how women with young children often ignore their husbands and the husbands are then tempted to cheat (hello, let's blame the victim). Another woman said, “Look at all those pictures of Tiger and his happy family. Now we know it was just a charade.” What does she know? What do any of us know about what is really going on in his heart? Only God knows who the real Tiger is.
Contrary to popular opinion, Tiger’s mistake is not a moral failure, it is a spiritual issue. All of us have an emptiness in our hearts that can only be filled by God. And, we all try to fill it with other things. The more that we try to fill that hole with anything but God, the bigger the hole gets. And, the bigger the hole gets, the more desperate we will get to satiate that emptiness with anything that will bring us even a moment’s relief from the desolation we feel. We are all vulnerable. And, yes, even you and I could have gone down that same awful road. There but for the grace of God go we.
I hope we will not speak as the media does and be ignorant about the real Tiger. Only God knows his heart. But, by all means, we must surely not be ignorant about the REAL “tiger” (or lion, as the Bible calls him) who seeks to destroy us. “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
Specifically with respect to sexual sin, Satan seems to be taking people down right and left…and it is not just men. As my husband reminds me, for every man who has an affair, there is a consenting woman involved. God is clear about sexual sin. It has grave consequences. The Bible says sexual sin will destroy the person who engages in it. "All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life." Proverbs 7:22-23 This is serious stuff.
So, “How does a person wake up one day and suddenly become unable to appropriately assess the potential consequences of his or her actions?”, one might wonder. “How does a person go from thinking inappropriate thoughts or having inappropriate feelings to acting on them and ruining his marriage, family, career, and reputation?” One step at a time. By dipping his toes in the water. By giving Satan a foothold. And, one doesn’t even have to go seeking out sexual sin to be confronted by the temptation. Sometimes it seeks after YOU.
Case in point: A couple of weeks ago, my husband received a Maxim magazine in the mail with his name on it. I nearly came unglued. Bryan cried innocent. I wanted to know HOW it got in my house and why it appeared that he had subscribed to it. So, I called the magazine. It turns out that a popular gaming magazine to which my husband subscribed had gone out of publication. And, without permission, the publisher switched everyone’s subscription to Maxim. Brilliant. Apparently, many other people were enraged because their teenage sons had received the magazine. The parents only thought they were allowing an interest in computer gaming.
What do we make of the impact of that mailing? Maxim is sold as “mainstream”. It does not arrive wrapped in brown paper. You do not have to be an adult to purchase it. Yet, its content reveals that the line between what was once thought of as pornography and what is now considered innocuous has been blurred. I saved the cover to prove my point. Here are a couple of the tag lines: “The $241,000 Lap Dance: The Fall of America’s Greatest Strip Club”, and “5 Girls in Lingerie Who Want to Drink Tequila With You.” The women pictured inside are not naked, but they might as well be. And, they look ready to go, if you know what I mean. I know this for a fact: few, if any, of the men (boys) looking at Maxim are married to the women inside its pages. And, if they responded to this obvious sexual invitation, they would not be within the boundaries of God’s protection.
Many would say that looking at this kind of thing is really innocent, normal even, a natural part of development. But, I submit to you that boyhood curiosity can turn into a manhood addiction that can ensnare good men like Tiger Woods and my husband (and countless other men AND women). Little compromises can develop into big sin that has much more far-reaching negative consequences.
I know that, despite his failings, my husband’s pictures of his happy family were not and are not a charade. Our marriage was not the problem. Our family was and is happy. And, as I pray for Tiger and Elin and their children, my heart tells me the same is true for them. But those of us who would be wise must use this opportunity as a call to action and awareness.
The media this morning were discussing whether or not Tiger’s scandal is a teachable moment for us all. One woman stated, “No, not unless you want to be more cynical.” Another woman said, “Yes, but we don’t seem to learn from these mistakes. People keep making them.” I assert that this IS a teachable moment if we include spiritual matters in the dialogue. These are not matters of mere behavior. They are a barometer of the heart. We must consider whether the seemingly innocuous compromises we are making today may be giving Satan a foot in the door of our hearts. We must be alert to the fact that we are being pursued by an enemy of our souls. We are at war. And, we must not go to battle naked.
Most of all, we must claim victory because we know that He who is at work in us is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4