Tiger Woods broke his silence today with a brief and highly orchestrated press statement. Many predicted that it would be more of a re-launching of his career than repentance over what he has done. From a PR standpoint, I think he accomplished both. From a spiritual standpoint, I believe his statement can be used to help others realize the truth about our existence on this earth.
Woods stated: “I stopped living by the core values that I was taught to believe. I knew my actions were wrong, but I convinced myself that normal rules didn’t apply. I thought only about myself. I ran straight through the boundaries. I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I thought I deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me.”
Truth: We are all born with a natural inclination to think only about ourselves. This selfish nature is the overriding obstacle to our peace. Every one of us likes to be on the throne of our lives. We see ourselves as the center of the universe. But we are not. Whether we believe it or not, God is. God is alive and well, and seated on the throne. Our trouble comes from worshipping ourselves rather than God, from doing things our way instead of His.
Tiger explained that he was raised a Buddhist and had strayed from his faith practices in recent years. He indicated that therapy had helped him see the impact of one’s spiritual life on every other area.
Truth: There is an impact of one’s spiritual life on every other area. But worshipping idols and performing religious practices are worthless. These are only disciplines that provide structure, not power. True lasting power doesn’t come in our actions, but in the action of the Holy Spirit of God who resides in the soul of every believer in Jesus Christ.
Tiger said he had lost track of what he had been taught. “Buddhism teaches that a craving for things outside ourselves causes an unhappy pointless search for security.” “It teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint.”
Truth: There is an unhappy pointless search for security in the things of the world. But security is not within us either. We do not have power over the wind or the sea. We do not have power over death. True security is in seeking and finding the one, true, all-powerful God – the only God who has overpowered the grave to rise to everlasting life, and who promises this everlasting life to all who will believe.
Buddhism is a religion to about 300 million people worldwide. The word budhi means “to awaken”. Siddhartha Gotama, known as the Buddha, began the movement about 2,500 years ago, after claiming he had been awakened to enlightenment. This religion claims to explain the purpose of life – that there is one purpose for all people – yet Tiger did not say anything to suggest he had any idea what that purpose is.
Truth: There is one purpose for all people, and that is to know God and make Him known. Because of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, we can do both.
Buddhism is a tolerant, peaceful religion that promotes morality and compassion. Where Buddhism falls short is in its lack of acknowledgement that there is one God who created and rules the universe; a God who established the moral law and created our earth to benefit when it is followed; a God who is just and therefore must punish wrongdoing, but did so for all time by compassionately coming in the form of a man who accepted the necessary punishment on our behalf.
There is absolutely no doubt that Tiger can be truly transformed, but only if he would give up trying to be good and realize he cannot. Real inner peace, power and joy comes in accepting the gift of pardon that God offers, and the gift of His Spirit to help us rule over our own stupidity. None of us can perform perfectly all the time, not even Tiger.