At his recent public mea culpa, Tiger Woods mentioned that he was raised in the Buddhist faith but he had fallen away from his faith later in his life. He said that Buddhism teaches him “to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint.”
Indeed Buddhism does teach that all suffering is caused by craving or desire. This is the first Noble Truth of Buddhism. We can clearly see that Tiger Woods as well as many others are suffering because of his choices.
However I think this brings up a thought I want to share with you…
As normal human beings, even though we many times know what is the right thing to do, we don’t do it. Given the right circumstances and opportunities each one of us could fall prey to desires that have the possibility of destroying us. Whether its lust, the love of money, hatred, lying, or the like, we are potentially susceptible to falling.
So, how do we have the power to do what is right? I would like to show you a little of the Christian answer to this problem that is common to ALL people.
The Apostle Paul, writer of about two thirds of the New Testament, wrote about these very things. In Romans Chapter 7:15-25 he intriguingly says,
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.
I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.
Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So, we see that it is impossible to be freed from the sinful nature in our own strength. The power to potentially overcome these universal cravings to do what we know is wrong comes only through Jesus Christ. “Religion” may have the ability to diagnose the problem but it doesn’t have to power to save from being a “slave to sin.” Through Jesus Christ, we have the potential to be “dead to sin.”
“We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:6,11)
Tiger may have desired to do what was right, but he found that “evil was always right there” with him. Temptation is common to mankind. We all face it in varying degrees. But the difference for Christians is that we have the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of us giving us the power to overcome evil desires. It is not a given for any and all who call themselves “Christian”, but to those who choose to “walk in the Spirit” and allow Him to steer them away from the cravings of the “sinful nature.”
Be filled…with the Holy Spirit, and controlled by him. Ephesians 5:18,(Living Bible)
“Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the sinful nature.” Galatians 5:16
As a multi-millionaire and one of the most well known sports stars known to the world, Tiger Woods’ temptations were undoubtedly strong, but I am suggesting that if he would have been looking to God and his faithfulness he would have had a greater power to say no and would have seen a way of escape from the temptations he faced.
The Bible gives this promise,
“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” I Corinthians 10:13
If and when we come to the end of ourselves; we will find power to overcome sin, not in reverting to religion or “finding balance”, but in an new, fresh, intimate, & ongoing relationship with the God who created us.
In Buddhism, Tiger can only look forwar to the iron clad law of Karma. He will reap what he has sown. In Christ, Tiger can receive forgiveness from his past and the ability to start a new life. (I John 1:9 & 2 Cor 5:17).
Still holding out hope that Tiger find this for himself.