He did it! Tiger Woods won the Master’s this past weekend. What a great story. Here are the three things I learned over the past few days.
America loves a redemption story.
Just in case you were unaware, Tiger Woods is slated as being one the greatest golfers in the history of the world. He is ranked only behind Jack Nicklaus according to the PGA. In a span of 10 years, Tiger had earned 15 majors and was on his way to shatter Nicklaus’ record of 18.
However, that all changed in November of 2009 when Woods’ lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a fire hydrant outside of his house. It was at this time that rumors began to fly about multiple affairs, sex addiction, and alcohol abuse. Over the next several months, Tiger lost many endorsements and was written off as a waste of talent. It seemed in that moment that the world had turned its back on their once beloved king of the sport.
But on Sunday, with Tiger never carrying a lead throughout the tournament, America collectively held her breath and then celebrated as Tiger closed the Master’s as champion.
America loves redemption!
My life is not defined by my sin and setbacks.
As 2010 rolled around, it seemed as if Tiger would never be able to step out into public again. He was written off, shamed, slandered, and forgotten in many ways. His sin was front-page news and was even earned an edgy (if not over-the-line) skit on SNL. The world made a mockery his failures and public disappointments.
I am in no way endorsing or softening the choices he made. In fact, he has never claimed to be a Christian and I would be in the wrong to hold him to any other standard than that of God’s Word. What I am suggesting is that in a time when someone should have experienced great compassion and love, he rather experienced a deeper since of shame and scorn from an unapologetic world. But thank God our sin does not define us! In fact, we are defined by the one who paid for our sin – Jesus Christ!
Not only did Tiger suffer from a great since of shame, he also suffered several medical setbacks that would keep him off the course both physically and mentally. In 2018, Woods’ had his best year since 2007 as he finished second in the FedEx Cup standings. While he showed moments of greatness throughout the season, he also had moments of mental breakdowns and physical pains that would cause him to miss the final cut or withdraw from tournaments.
But once again, that was in 2018 and this is a new year and a new season!
My life is defined by WHO made me, not what others think of me.
“Tiger Woods is totally, completely, unequivocally, and utterly done.” – Shane Ryan
That’s what was said of Tiger Woods in July of 2015. He was written off and thrown away. But I for one am grateful that Tiger did not let those words define him. Instead of accepting the world’s dismissal of his ability and future, he crawled, bled, worked, and eventually made his way back to the top.
In fact, the same article that wrote him off said:
“Lastly, if Tiger Woods or anyone else says something different on the topic of him being done, you should understand that they are lying or misinformed. Into perpetuity, forever and ever, Tiger Woods is done. Tiger Woods. Is Done. Done.”
Well. I do believe someone else has something to say about our fate. Scripture makes is clear when it says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”– Genesis 1.27
Furthermore, God tells us, “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”– Jeremiah 29.11
What we know is that each person has been uniquely made in the image of God. The Psalmist proclaims that we were, “fearfully and wonderfully made,” (Psalm 139.14)! Our identity is grounded in God’s image. In His character. God is good. God is faithful. God is just. God is right. I can go on and on and on and on.
We also know that God has a plan for us. The Apostle Paul says that God’s will for us is good, perfect, and pleasing (Romans 12.2). The Bible teaches us that God will “never leave us or forsake us,”(Deuteronomy 31.6-8; Hebrews 13.5). So what we have is a promise that the God who formed us, also has a plan for us, and that throughout that perfectly good and pleasing plan, He will always be by our side.
While Tiger Woods’ story of redemption from hero-to zero-back to hero is powerful and exciting, it pales in comparison to the greatest story of redemption the world has ever known. This weekend we will celebrate the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
So no! I am not defined by what the world says about me. I am defined by whomy God made me to be. I am His workmanship (Ephesians 2.10). I am His creation (Genesis 1.26-27). And because of the cross and what Jesus accomplished through His life, death, and resurrection, in God’s eyes, I am worth it (John 3.16).