The Word on the Week

Wood’s Words 20th February 2010

In a country awash with sexual perversions it is almost a relief to read of the serial adultery of Tiger Woods. So skewed has our moral compass gone that the philandering of this superb athlete does not seem so remarkable. What makes his fall from grace intriguing is the fact that he had all his liaisons while he was in the limelight as the world’s top golfer. His wife did not know and the journalists, who make careers out of delving into the secrets of the rich and famous, were taken by surprise. His ability to control the media was in evidence on Friday when he delivered a prepared confession before a hand-picked audience of friends and sympathisers with only three journalists in attendance. They were there simply to take notes – no questions were permitted. After 45 days of therapy Woods was in control. Addictions are hard to handle and Woods struggled to rationalise his behaviour. “I convinced myself normal rules did not apply…I thought only about myself…I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to …I felt I was entitled.” He returns to therapy and to the Buddhism of his youth. In it he would have been taught the “4 Noble Truths”; Life is suffering. Suffering is caused by desire. The cessation of desire eliminates suffering. This comes by following the path between the extremes of sensuousness and asceticism. In Woods own words, “Buddhism teaches that a craving for things outside ourselves, causes an unhappy and pointless search for security. It teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint. Obviously I lost track of what I was taught.” Like many of the world’s religions Buddhism seeks the remedy within the person. Jesus contradicts this, “For from within, out of the heart of man come evil thoughts… theft, murder, adultery… all these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” St Mark ch.7 V21. All sin is against God because he made the rules which we all transgress. When we sin we create a debt. Even the most elastic conscience knows that. Therapy cannot remove it. Going within is looking for a remedy in the wrong place. We need to look away from ourselves to Jesus atoning work on the cross and believe that he was there in the sinners place. When we recognise that he died for me we experience the freedom of forgiveness which now evokes in the heart a new desire to live in conformity to his word. The addict will always have his Achilles heel. He will be tested. But for the Christian who has personally experienced the love of Jesus there is the power to live above the ordinary and the assurance that he is not alone in his struggles. Jesus has promised that he will never leave or forsake him in this life or the next. Our “tiger” natures need to be tamed by faith in Jesus.