Another high-profile American has been shocked to have the hidden details of his personal life public paraded before the nation’s eyes. Responding to a woman’s accusation that they carried on a two-and-a-half year affair, Tiger Woods apologized for not being “true to my values and the behavior my family deserves.”
Tiger also expressed surprise at the high level of “tabloid scrutiny” that he now faces. He feels that (apart from the issue of the affair) “there is an important and deep principle at stake which is the right to some simple, human measure of privacy.”
And we all sympathize with that, don’t we? The moment we are most concerned about our privacy is when we’ve been caught in a secret sin. But most of us don’t face the “tabloid scrutiny” that athletes, politicians, musician and movie stars face.
Or do we?
Truth be told, every one of us faces a scrutiny that far exceeds any tabloid curiosity. “The word of God is living and active, … discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4.12-13). Tabloids make mistakes, they can’t know everything, and they are only temporary. God is perfect, he knows everything, and he lasts forever.
The problem is that we can see tabloids, but not God. It’s like speeding on the lonely open stretch of highway but driving at the limit near that well-known speed trap in town. When we see the police, we respect them. When we can’t see them, we drive as though they don’t exist. Solomon saw this principle at work in the world (Eccl. 9.1-3).
But all this I laid to heart, examining it all, how the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of God. Whether it is love or hate, man does not know; both are before him. It is the same for all, since the same event happens to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As the good one is, so is the sinner, and he who swears is as he who shuns an oath. This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that the same event happens to all. Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.
Good men die young; bad men die young. Good men die old; bad men die old. Sometimes it doesn’t look like our actions on earth get any heavenly response. The result of that apparent justicelessness is that people do whatever they want: “the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts.” And then, when they’re caught and their sins are dragged through the public square, everything seems unfair and the “important and deep principle [of] human privacy” has been terribly endangered!
The ultimate problem is not the media or any celebrity. The problem is with all of us: we don’t take seriously the reality of God’s righteous standards, constant scrutiny and perfect accountability. We can’t see God; thus, we don’t respect his authority.
The ultimate solution is Jesus Christ. All of us have quite a track record of acting like God is not in charge – we can call that sin. Jesus has a perfect record. He has always been entirely mindful of the Father’s scrutiny and he has always obeyed. On the cross, Jesus took our punishment and offered us his righteousness. Additionally, Jesus provides the only way we can walk rightly before God now. We live “in Christ,” we have his Spirit dwelling in us and we have access to his grace! Furthermore, when we still act like God’s authority isn’t real, we have constant grace and forgiveness in Jesus – the Gospel never stops being effective for us.
We don’t need to act surprised when someone (ourselves included) is caught with a hand in the cookie jar. God’s scrutiny far exceeds any human attention or publicity. In Jesus Christ, we can heed the conclusion to Solomon’s wisdom: “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Eccl. 12.13-14).
Quotes from this article.