Thursday, April 8, 2010

Nike and Tiger-An Image of God's Grace

Several weeks ago, I blogged about what Christians can learn from the Tiger Woods press conference (the first statements he made after the scandal hit the media). Since it's obvious this Tiger Woods debacle is not going away any time soon, I suppose I will jump back in and see what it is we can learn from the rest of this whole thing-especially since the guy is more famous now than he was before we found out the number of mistresses he had on the side was in the double digits.

As part of the whole scandal, Tiger lost a lot of notable advertising endorsements from companies who felt he no longer carried an image of integrity that they sought to promote to their audience. But Nike chose to stick by him; a move that was questioned by a lot of people.

But in Nike's latest commercial is an image of God's grace. Now, Tiger is not a Christian. He has been very open about his Buddhist beliefs. But I think the way Nike has handled the situation shows us how Christians should speak the truth in love when someone has fallen from grace.

When I found out Nike and others were keeping him on board, I suspected they would sweep the whole thing under the rug and act like it had never happened. But the latest Tiger commercial has absolutely nothing to do with golf, sports, competition, or athletic skill. It is all about integrity and choices. It eerily puts Tiger's dead-still mugshot staring blankly into the camera with a subtle blink of the eyes to let the viewers know it's actually a video all the while a recording of his deceased father questions him about his thoughts and choices.

In the church, when our brothers and sisters make choices, we are called to speak the truth in love. This doesn't mean ignoring sin, it is acknowledging that sin, but also forgiving and calling others to receive God's forgiveness and renew their commitment to God. In Romans 5-6, Paul reminds us that the law was given so we could know what sin was. And that grace is directly proportional to sin. So as sin increases, grace increases all the more. But we should not keep sinning so that we receive more grace. A fall from grace is a time to acknowledge what went wrong and make a change.

This whole experience has been incredibly humbling for the world's greatest golfer. Sin does that to us, it brings us to our knees and for those of us who believe, it should bring us to the foot of the cross. How do you handle those who have fallen from grace? How have you been treated when you've made mistakes?

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