The nation has been up in arms lately over the demise of one of its many idols, Tiger Woods, following the announcement of his multiple affairs. It is a tragedy when a family is destroyed by adultery, of course, but that is not all this is about. We have looked for perfection in another human being when no such human being exists. I stop and ask myself why we, as a culture, seem to require such things.
We have perfection in Christ alone, but that does not seem to suffice for many of us. We attach glory to people in politics, films, the music industry, and sports rather than to persons who have made greater contributions to the world as care takers of the aged and infirm, pastors, teachers, scientists discorvering cures for disease, and others of genuine merit. These are the men and women trying to hold-up the she shaky structure of the world with courageous, sacrificial, often weary (and usually unrewarded) arms.
But then we must also ask, Why do we need icons anyhow? Why do we not try to find the potential in ourselves and then persevere in pursuing a purpose-driven life? Why must we live empty, shallow lives that leave the world and ourselves non-plused by our existence when we are created in the very image of God with all the vast potential that infers?
If each of us were truly self-realised and self-actualized, , what need would there be to live vicariously through such persons? When I say “self”, I am not infering “selfish”, however. I do not regard “self” as another obscene four-letter word. I truly believe that we must value ourselves before we can value others rightly. We must understand what God has put in each of us purpose and destiny.
Some of the rich and famous have developed certain abilities magnificently, while leaving other facets of character wanting. Regardless, we are drawn to their fortes (as we are to those in ourselves) as though to have excellence in one part is to have excellence in all. We are astonished when it is not so whether in them or in us.
This is not a judgement of Tiger Woods. He is the world’s greatest golfer, but is only a human being like ourselves. To hold him up to judgement or to the status of a god is to do him and ourselves a grave injustice and is, I believe, an offense to the God who made all of us.
It occurs to me that we like to put certain others on pedestals and then hope they fall off (possibly to make ourselves feel a tad more self-righteous). Do we get a naughty little charge out of feeling like the score has been evened up a bit between us and them? How dare they be rich and famous! How dare they find their forte and then go through the hard work, risks and sacrificies it takes to be at the top of their game!
What has happened to Tiger Woods is as much a wake-up call to ourselves as to him. I do not know what he will do with his. That is not my business. What I do with my wake-up call must be my business. I hope it will be yours, as well. It was once said that in Hollywood, it is not enough to win, one needs to see the other person lose. Let’s hope and pray that for Tiger (and and the rest of us) a time will come when we all win in our own ways.