Thousands of newspaper column inches, countless hours of TV and endless tweets and blogs have been devoted to analysis of the goings on in the life of Tiger Woods. Most of the analysis I've seen, even from reputable papers and news programmes, has had an undercurrent of delight at the way the Woods life and image have been falling apart since the initial news of him being involved in a car crash. That left me wondering about what Jesus would say to Tiger Woods if he was to meet up with him.
First I think Jesus would have something to say to all the people taking delight in Woods downfall, and who are enjoying poring over every emerging detail. Jesus once met a woman who had been caught committing adultery, and his first words were not to her but to her accusers. He told them to consider their own lives before starting to stand in judgement over anyone else. People will say "but I've not done anything as bad or as public as Tiger Woods", but let's remember that Jesus set the bar much higher than we would - "I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart". I saw a newspaper article recently where some scientists tried to do a study on men who'd never looked at pornography - but couldn't find any. Jesus would tell us to put down our stones and consider our own lives before throwing our stones at Woods.
Secondly I think Jesus would tell Woods that he doesn't condemn him for what he's done. Jesus didn't come into the world to condemn it but to save it, and nobody is excluded from that message of hope. Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery "neither do I condemn you". So however wretched Woods must feel right now Jesus doesn't condemn him.
Thirdly I think Jesus would be clear about how much Woods has messed up, and the impact of his sin. I'm reminded of David when he slept with Bathsheba and had her husband murdered to try and cover it up. David thought he'd got away with it, but God through Nathan made sure that David realised the seriousness and the long term impact of what he had done. That it had implications for him, for his family, for his career and for his relationship with God. Jesus was never vague about the nature, the impact or the implications of sin.
Fourthly Jesus would say to Woods that repentance is the way to restoration. Repentance means admitting that you've messed up. Getting it all out there, not trying to excuse anything, hide anything, trying to do damage limitation or pretending it didn't happen, but admitting everything you've done and asking for forgiveness - first before God then before everyone you've sinned against, which in this case would include his wife, children, family, friends, mistresses, sponsors and anyone else affected. But repentance means more than than just feeling sorry and asking for forgiveness. It means turning around and now living your life a different way. You can't do that on your own but only with God's help, and the help of those around you. Jesus would encourage Woods into a community of people who truly want the best for him and can now help him to live in a different way from now on. Tiger Woods need to find the Nathan's in his life who will help him live differently.
Finally I think Jesus would say that this doesn't have to be the end. That however much we mess up that restoration and recovery is still possible. Looking at the example of David his sin had huge negative implications, including the death of both Uriah and the child he had with Bathsheba. But God is the master of bringing good from bad where we work with him. David carried on ruling the kingdom. In the genealogy of Jesus we read "David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife", so there is hope.
Those are my thoughts. I'm sure there will be other ideas on what Jesus might say - if so then please feel free to add those thoughts as comments.
But I want to close by reflecting that we will all have times when we mess up. It's unlikely to have been as public as for Tiger Woods, but it may have had just as big implications on your life. Or perhaps you've got a sin in your life which is still hidden, but you know that one day it's going to come out into the open. Please can I encourage you to read this blog again, but putting yourself in the place of Tiger Woods and hearing what Jesus would say to you.