Friday, February 19, 2010
So, I was planning to write my blog after watching Tiger Woods' press conference. I figured there might be something worthy to discuss.
But in the commentary that has come AFTER his speech, all I can think to say is, "Forgive him, and leave him alone."
One of my co-workers was blasting his speech, saying he's only sorry he got caught, and that she doesn't believe him. She even went so far as to ask, "Who does he think he is to call a press conference just to say he's sorry?"
"Who are you to say you don't believe his apology is sincere? Who the hell are you?"
Maybe the apology was a part of his therapy. Maybe his advisers asked him to do it. Maybe HE wanted to do it. But regardless of what inspired his apology, the fact is he apologized. He didn't owe any of us that. He didn't wrong any of us. But since he did apologize...why not just accept it?
What I find funny about all of his critics is their lack of forgiveness for a transgression that was never directed at them. We see forgiveness as something only God has to grant - but not us. While we confess all the time that "we are only human" when it comes to our OWN faults, we seem to forget that Tiger is also human.
We withhold our forgiveness - unconsciously projecting our feelings of guilt onto others, playing a blame game and shifting our own shortcomings to others - and fail to forgive the faults we can't bear to look at in ourselves.
Life shows us how to live and love by example, sending us relationships that challenge us. Our most difficult relationships offer us our greatest opportunities to grow. Tiger is now going through his.
We all have our regrets - some secret guilt or private embarrassment we carry inside. There are certainly acts in my own life for which I would want to be forgiven. We all have them. Usually our private pangs of conscience are self inflicted, not put on CNN for the world to see. And ultimately, we are either willing to forgive or we're not..but until we can forgive others, we totally won't be able to forgive ourselves.
Sometimes, what we've done doesn't determine who we ARE...it's what we've overcome that can determine that. A person we've wronged may not be aware of how we've grown since we hurt them, or who we've become. And sometimes those who we still hold grudges against are not who they were either - they too may have changed. It's so easy for us to edit out our own past behaviors without giving someone else the benefit of the doubt.
The Bible says, "Judge not and condemn not...for with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged." No one is saying that Tiger's behavior was right, or that we should condone it. But what we should be saying is the choice is ours to forgive. If we all could see our lives from the Divine perspective, we would see each other as perfect, yet imperfect...and every hurt and transgression as an integral part of life - and an invitation to be better than we were before.
Divine justice works this way: whatever you do or don't do, whether you forgive or not, whether you judge or judge not - you do so unto the Body of Christ - which is only ourselves, all of us under the oneness of God. So if you know you'll have to ask for forgiveness one day, also know that you'll have to give it. The wisest thing to do is to always choose forgiveness over anger, and love over hate - for love heals everything in its path. Forgiveness is a form of self-mastery, so don't let anger and pain settle into your spirit. As we forgive, so we are forgiven.