The Tiger Woods press statement of last Friday in which he apologized for his numerous affairs and infidelity to his wife and family was a highly-followed and anticipated event. There is much that could be said about that. But I want to make just one brief, particular comment.
In his statement Woods did not give a timeline for his return to professional golf. Some commentators seem to expect that he should be able to do this--give a specific date for his return to golf. But such an attitude ignores the reality of how difficult, and serious, and unforeseeable, a sincere project of rooting out deeply ingrained sin is.
I hope that Tiger's expressions of sorrow and his desire for reform are genuine. I have no reason to think that they aren't. One indication of an authentic desire for reform is to realize that one cannot predict ahead-of-time how long the path to a more healthy, more virtuous life will take. You simply have to embark upon that path with the help of God and others, not knowing how long or what that path will look like in detail. It will be a long, arduous road. And for any person who has allowed himself to become grievously malformed in his soul by a deeply ingrained pattern of grave sin, the work of untwisting what is twisted can only be be accomplished with the assistance of divine grace working through the human community. God promises us help when we sincerely ask for it. But he does not thereby give us a crystal ball.
The fact that some people apparently think that it would be reasonable for Tiger to pick a date by which he will be sufficiently recovered to resume a normal life is a sad witness to how much our culture has departed from the wisdom of the ages about the human condition. Sin and vice become pressed and glued into our souls more and more deeply the more they are indulged. Separating them out is not an easy, predictable project. It never has been and never will be. With God, there is always hope. But He has His own timing unknown to us. It's very unfortunate when we no longer seem to know this about ourselves.
We should pray for Tiger Woods, and for ourselves, for the grace to recognize any patterns of serious sin in our lives before they take over like monsters in our souls. And may we have the trust, humility, and love (for God and for ourselves) to wholeheartedly embark with Christ (and the Saints and others who love us) upon whatever journey toward wholeness and healing we need to travel. And may we be willing to do so on God's terms, not our own.