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Our Deepest Needs - Tiger Woods
Emptiness; Materialism

Main Point of Discussion: The Tiger Woods scandal showed that God created all people with a ‘God-shaped hole’ that can only be filled by trusting in Christ for a restored relationship with God. No amount of success, fame, or material possessions can ever meet our deepest needs.

Vital Info Before You Get Started: (The following should help you contextualize this important issue so you can have a great discussion about it with your kids.)

  • You probably know all about what happened to Tiger Woods—or more accurately, what Tiger Woods did to himself and his family. His was one of the most highly publicized scandals in recent memory. One of the most successful, wealthy, and universally beloved public figures in recent history was looking for something he hasn’t yet found.

  • Tiger Woods, arguably the greatest golfer in the history of the game, has been having extra marital affairs—a lot of them. Here’s the confession he posted on his Web site:

      I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect. I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family. Those feelings should be shared by us alone.

Introducing the Discussion:
Today I want us to discuss the Tiger Woods’ story, but from a radically different perspective than what you’ve seen and read about. We are not going to focus on the speculations and details; rather I’d like us to look at the big picture and what role Tiger’s spiritual condition might have played in this personal disaster. If you didn’t follow the story, one of the most successful athletes of all time—who seemingly had everything ordinary people only dream about—was caught in a web of sexual affairs that ended his marriage and almost derailed his career. What made it worse was the fact that he lied about his situation and tried to cover it up before being caught. We’re going to watch a video where sportswriter Rick Reilly makes an interesting statement about this situation.

The Video/Statement:

Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):
    Q: What do you think about Rick Reilly’s statements in the video? Do you think Tiger’s transgressions were due to immaturity—or are there deeper issues?
    A: (you’ll get different answers; none are “incorrect”)

    Q: How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to Tiger’s situation?
    A: We should pray for him and his family rather than mock him. It should also remind us that we’re all vulnerable to much bigger “falls” than what we might assume—we’re all dust, ultimately. Many Christians have done what Tiger did—we need to be humble.

    Q: How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this situation to actually living out those opinions?
    A: Whether Tiger did what he did because he “thought he could” makes no difference—his actions were wrong, period. And they’re just as wrong when Christians transgress in this way. We need to ask God to “lead us not into temptation” when it comes to sexuality, that we may remain pure in God’s sight. If we do sin (or have sinned) sexually, we must repent of our sin, confess our sin to anyone we may have hurt, then ask for God’s forgiveness through Jesus’ blood.

Where to Take It from Here:
Wherever it feels natural. If these questions lead to a longer discussion on the topic, wonderful! (There’s a guide just after this paragraph that helps you do just that.) If your kids are barely uttering grunts, don’t get discouraged—the next time it feels right, keep engaging them.

For Deeper Discussion: (If your kids seem into diving in deeper, the following discussion guide can help take you there.)

CLICK HERE if you want to look at a quick training article on small groups and drawing questions out of young people—you may find much of the information applicable as you go through this subject with your family members.

Transitional Statement:

It doesn’t matter that some people seem to have everything in the world; even those people still want more. Like Tiger, there was a king who lived thousands of years ago who had more bank and bling than anyone who has ever lived…and probably ever will. He went on a party journey for quite some time to see if he could find contentment and happiness with things here on earth. Let’s see how it panned out for him, and what lessons we should learn from his and Tiger’s search.

Parent Note:
Above all, don’t appear as if you have a “canned” discussion in your head and rattle off questions like a teacher giving a pop quiz—your kids get enough of that in school. This is a guide, primarily—not a verbatim script. Just familiarize yourself with the content here and start a conversation in the most natural, unforced way you know how.

More Discussion Questions:

    Read the following passage from the Bible:

      Ecclesiastes 2:10 (NLT)
      “I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure.”

  1. ASK ONE FAMILY MEMBER: Does this sound like the philosophy Tiger adopted? Why or why not?

  2. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What do you think he was looking for?

  3. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: In the end, Solomon – the guy who wrote this Bible passage - found himself in a darker place than he ever imagined, and that without God everything was literally ‘meaningless.’ Why do you think that is?

  4. Read the following passage from the Bible:

      Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV)
      “He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

  5. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What do you think it means to have ‘eternity’ in your hearts?

  6. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: This passage tells us that there is an emptiness and need inside the human heart that can only be met by having an eternal relationship with an eternal God. What are other ways that people try to meet this need and alleviate the emptiness?

  7. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: What are ways we can resist the materialistic message of our culture this week and focus on our relationship with Jesus?

Wrap Up:

Read the following passage:
    Revelation 3:20 (NLT)
    “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.”
This ‘meal’ Jesus is referring to is a spiritual feast that no earthly possession or experience can rival. If you’ve trusted Christ, you already know this—but look around at all the people who are desperately looking to fill the eternity-sized empty space in their hearts. What they want is what Tiger Woods wants—and it is what you have found! Jesus is knocking at the door of their hearts, offering to heal their loneliness and connect with the ‘eternity’ that God has placed there.

Give your family members a few minutes to think of friends in their lives who need Jesus and how they could use this story to reach them. Then give them time in silence to pray for them.

Close in Prayer

Written by Lane Palmer

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