“Tiger’s Turmoil”. That was one of the front page headlines in today’s paper. The sub-headline was, “Endorsement deals could be put at risk”, and a CEO from an entertainment and sports marketing firm was quoted as saying, “Unfortunately for Tiger, the situation is not over”.
Tiger Woods is arguably the most talented professional golfer who ever played the game and he has accumulated in excess of one billion dollars in earnings. Some 80% of those earnings have come from product endorsements which are in no small part due to what was his pristine public image. But suddenly everything is turned upside down. The man who cherished privacy, even naming his luxury yacht “Privacy”, now finds himself at the very center of public scrutiny and ridicule.
All that was done in secret is now abruptly exposed to the full light of day. What was he thinking? Did he really imagine he could keep his affair hidden? Did he consider himself too clever and careful to be ever found out? Did he think his remarkable popularity somehow made him immune from any repercussions? What about others who would be affected? What is he thinking now? Those fleeting moments of secret pleasure in an adulterous relationship… were they worth it? Now what?
Is his public image and reputation his main concern? Is he worried about his financial fortune which could be seriously eroded in an ugly divorce? And those wildly lucrative product endorsements… could he lose them? Are those his main concerns? We really don’t know. But there’s an even more important question… and it’s personal. It seems to be our natural inclination to be fascinated with other people’s failures and catastrophes, particularly those of celebrities. We wonder how their lives are affected, we criticize, judge and look down on them, but we rarely ask ourselves, what if it had been me exposed in this way? What about my life? Do I have unconfessed and unrepented of sin? Secret sins?
On one occasion Jesus commented on a particular current event to those around him saying, “those eighteen on whom the tower of Siloam fell and killed them, do you think they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:4-5). As regards this current event involving Tiger Woods, Jesus is not here in the flesh to comment. But we do have the commentary of God’s Word where He warns us that “God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil”. As if to say, don’t congratulate yourself that you never fell into this trap, rather take what happened to Tiger to heart. Realize the sobering reality that our sins are not hidden, that God sees all, including our concealed actions and the unseen intentions of the heart and mind.
We read, “He who planted the ear, shall He not hear? He who formed the eye, shall He not see?”, and “You have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your countenance” (Psalm 94:9; 90:8). Jesus Himself said, “For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known” (Matthew 10:26).
God has been merciful to Tiger in revealing these things in this life. In this life there is still opportunity to repent and go to God in confession, believing in Jesus as the One who has paid the debt for sin such that one can be forgiven. And a true repentance is not being sorrowful over the consequences of sin, but being sorrowful because of sin. To truly repent is to know that it is “against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight – that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge” (Psalm 51:4). What are the potential loss of endorsements and popularity compared to an eternal pardon and an eternal inheritance?
Beloved, see this public exposure as a loving warning. Be reminded that “it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27) where all will be brought to light, even those things that are secret. It is for this reason that “Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many” (verse 28). In Jesus, and in Him alone, is cleansing and forgiveness so that the believer need not fear that Day when every work will be brought into judgment.