I might stir up a hornet’s nets with this post (those who think people should take more of a stand on social issues), but those of you who know me, know that that is not going to bother me. So here it goes…
A couple weeks ago, Kelly Tilghman from the Golf Channel, made a racially incentive remark concerning Tiger Woods (by the way, Kelly and Tiger are friends — Follow this link for the story). In talking about Tiger’s dominance on the PGA tour, a reference was made that the only way to stop Tiger was to have the rest of the golfers taker him (Tiger) out back and "lynch him". Obviously this remark is extremely inappropriate. No harm or disrespect was meant toward Tiger — it was just a moment of bad judgment. Kelly later apologized on air and to Tiger personally (an apology that Tiger accepted). Kelly was then suspended from the air for two weeks and is schedule to return shortly.
But this issue is not over…
Many people (including former football great, Jim Brown) are upset that Tiger has not spoken out more about this racially insensitive comment. They feel that Tiger needs to take more of a stand on social issues – to which Tiger says he does everyday and that this is a "non-issue" now.
So here’s my beef: Kelly said something inappropriate (I don’t condone that) – she apologized to the public (admitting her guilt) – apologized to Tiger personally (an apology that was accepted) – and was punished for her comment – Now people want Tiger to continue to drag this out and make an example of Kelly. Why? It’s not like she meant to cause Tiger harm. It was a very bad mistake – inappropriate and wrong. And she confessed her guilt (sin). My question is this: WHERE IS THE FORGIVENESS?
Like I said, I am not condoning what Kelly said, but is there any need to make this any more an issue than it has already become. The thing is, society does not like forgiveness when other people are involved. we have such an over-developed sense of justice that forgiveness gets forgotten – it becomes a "non-issue". Tiger is setting an amazing example for people. He does not condone Kelly’s comments either, but neither is he carrying a grudge. Case closed…let’s move on.
I know racism runs wild in our society today. And I know we need to take a stand against it. And if Kelly had not apologized or waited a long time then I would be in favor of Tiger speaking out about this. But let’s not condemn someone for showing forgiveness.
When apartheid ended in South Africa and Nelson Mandela was elected the first black president, he didn’t start preaching that blacks should go and "get justice" by condemning their white oppressors, but rather Mandela preached forgiveness. He never said that apartheid was O.K., but he did say that if there is going to be any hope for healing, forgiveness needs to be in the picture someplace. Maybe you can’t snap your fingers and forgive, but at least work your way to the road to forgiveness.
So my message to Jim Brown and others is this: Through Jesus Christ, God offers forgiveness to all people (even to you and even to Kelly). Without forgiveness there is not hope of a peaceful society. Justice must be sought, but hasn’t this issue run it’s course yet? Please…move towards the road to forgiveness and let’s move on towards being a peaceful and love-filled society. Tiger is moving in that direction…let’s follow suit.