If you follow professional golf at all, or sports in general, you may have heard about this story. A star host on the Golf Channel, Ms. Tilgham (sp?) said some very racist remarks in jest concerning Tiger Woods. Ms. Tilgham and Tiger are friends and according to Tiger, they discussed the issue, remain good friends, and are moving on.
The media didn't want to leave it at that. A golf magazine decided this was a provocative discussion to pursue and so they wrote an article about it, and on the cover of the magazine they placed a picture of a noose. This picture and the article sparked a great controversy. So much so that the editor who placed the noose on the cover is now reportedly looking for a new job. Ms. Tigham is being disciplined by the golf channel.
Many people have said that Tiger should take a stronger stand on this issue than what he has. He should speak up for his civil rights. Those who had gone before him have done so much just so he could have his current position of influence. That is true. Maybe he should use his influence to take a stronger stance than what he has. Tiger's stance is he cannot take up every cause in the world. He has already chosen which causes to get behind.
In all the fray and talk over this discussion is something I don't see from my "Generation X" eyes. I grew up in a generation where the Civil Rights movement is more of a textbook lesson than a reality I have experienced (I'm speaking of the 60's). One thing I see missing in the Civil Rights movement is forgiveness. Are not the leaders of the movement ministers of the grace of God? One thing I see Tiger demonstrating with Ms. Tilgham is forgiveness. He forgave her and now he is moving on. What is so wrong with that? Why hasn't anyone noticed this? Is our culture so far removed from the message of Jesus?
Now don't get me wrong, I know the Civil Rights movement was needed and is still needed in our country. You have to take action when people are not being treated as Christ values them. Every person in God's eyes is valuable and our culture should demonstrate that fact.
The question I have is this: When it is required to take a stand can we not also offer forgiveness? I'm not saying to be a push over and let people walk all over you. That is not forgiveness. That is stupidity. Forgiveness heals the relationship, it doesn't allow one person or group to dominate over another, or as the Bible says, "Lord it over them."
The Bible says forgive others as Christ has forgiven you. How did Christ forgave you? He gave up his rights on the cross so he could die for your sin. It heals the breach between you and God and that forgiveness we recieved from God is supposed to spill over to others in this world. Where is the forgiveness?
I believe that forgiveness is the most powerful force in the world. It is because of the forgiveness of Christ that we have the hope of heaven when all the races of the earth will live in harmony (RV 7:9). Didn't Jesus teach us to ask in his model prayer to have what is happening in heaven happen down here? (MT 6) In case you don't know he did!
Maybe Tiger, who unfortunatley is Bhuddist, unwittingly took a stand. He took a stand of forgiveness when he forgave Ms' Tilgham and "moved on."
I believe that is only through the power of forgiveness that Martin Luther King's dream will be achieved. Maybe that's the greatest golf lesson of all.
In Christ Alone,
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