It was their best of times. It was their worst of times. It was the age of tabloids. It was the age of lust.
Marquis de Sanford and Duke of Tiger each chose to live their lives enthroned in the aristocracy of the public eye. Each earned his nobility, one through sports, the other through politics.
Now their self-indulgent philandering is revealed, and the hot winds of the media are storming their castle gates. The citizens are becoming drunk upon the brew of the lurid gossip; and the water cooler talk is dragging these men and their families (and our society) through the streets of shame.
What might be the outcome? Madam Guillotine awaits them both in the open court of divorce; the network tabloids are thirsty to see a blood bath or two. Neither man wants to dance with this Madam, but how can they escape her?
Living in the public eye can be unnerving when things are going well. But who can survive under such a siege of disgrace?
Sanford has hunkered down in his mansion, refusing to deny himself of the ephemeral delights of his soul, trying to salvage his place in history by finishing his term well. His family has had to fend for itself, flee the mansion and seek refuge away from the public spectacle of their father and husband.
On the day that the Marquis' name was called out in the Court of Divorce, Sir Tiger wisely fled, announcing that he will not walk in the public spotlight of the fairway for an undetermined season. He apparently has made a retreat to the safety of the Woods (home that is).
Saving his marriage is not guaranteed. Perhaps, though, he realizes he can either save his family or focus on his highly public occupation, but he can't do both at the same time.
Like all the rest of us sinners, these two have been caught (all of us are in the end). While they have asked forgiveness of their families and are sorry for the hurt they have caused, now they must learn that repentance is not about a pity party, it is about a 180-degree change of direction from doing wrong to doing right, from breaking vows to restoring relationships.
The actions and decisions these men make won't just write their tales on a printed page. They will be engraved upon themselves, their wives and their children and, because of their public stature, upon our society. We pray God's grace will abound in their lives and families.
The Rev. Patrick V. Dye
Pastor, Macedonia Baptist Church