Tiger Woods and Forgiveness

In a Fox News panel discussion about Tiger Woods, Brit Hume stated: "The extent to which he can recover, it seems to me, depends on his faith. He is said to be a Buddhist. I don’t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So, my message to Tiger would be, ‘Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world."

In her blog on 1/7, Ann Coulter defended this statement, and discussed the crazy responses from the liberal press.  She quoted several verses to support her thesis that Christianity “is the best deal in the Universe,” including Romans 10:9, that states "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." She says “… accept that God sent his only son to die for your sins and rise from the dead … and you’re in!

The key missed by Ann is a very important phrase in the verse:  "believe in your heart."  I think the article misses this, as do most churches.  This verse is often treated as a magic formula to heaven.  Pray the magic prayer and you are in!  Whoopee!

However, intellectual agreement and heart belief are very different, but our culture does not know the difference.  When you believe it in your heart, your emotional life is powerfully impacted:  your life is dramatically changed.  The fact of your direct, permanent connection to God as an adopted adult son or daughter, with full authority – just like Jesus, who calls you his brother, not his servant – becomes a foundation for your life.  This is the truth that truly sets you free, but only if it is a heart belief, not a head belief.  When your heart believes, you are living by the Spirit; your focus will be on your daily relationship with your "daddy" Father God.  You live in complete freedom from law, as clearly stated by St. Paul in Galatians.  But many Christians today have heart beliefs that contradict this, so instead they need to focus on works, on "being good" and playing by the rules – all of which are operating as under the law.  The central fact that God is focused on your heart is often missed:  He cares what your heart believes, not what you give intellectual assent to.

Head belief and heart belief are completely separate, and people can and often do have opposing beliefs between head and heart.  This is a lose-lose situation:  this is why we believe it is so important for people to understand the difference, and learn how to reprogram their hearts by replacing cultural or family background lies with God’s truth … in their hearts!

The understanding of heart vs. head was something I learned about after being a Christian for over 30 years.  My first transformational experience in 1994 blew my mind.  How could I believe but not believe?  Over the past 2 years, I have been exposed to teaching that revealed to me how that was possible:  for 30 years, I believed in my head, but it did not change my life, other than for me to try real hard to be "good" and do what "good Christians" do, with some fair success, but not a lot of satisfaction (I would make a GREAT Pharisee!).  I knew something was missing, but what?  It was heart belief.  In 1994, I finally was able to toss out one of the many lies in my heart, and replace it with God’s truth.  Since then, I have been tossing out many more, and will continue on this path.

Ann is right:  the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the best deal out there.  Hands down, nothing else comes close.  If only more Christians believed it in their hearts!  Then our world would be a different place!

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January 9, 2010. Uncategorized.

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