I have been thinking about Tiger… the golfer, or perhaps now more famously, the man who betrayed Elin. It seems I am not alone in having given some thought lately to the famous athelete from Florida.

But it is not the golf part of Tiger’s life that intrigues me.

It’s Tiger’s betrayal of Elin that really interests me. Of course I know nothing about Tiger Woods or his now ex-wife Elin Nordegren. I do not know what their marriage was like, nor really any of the details of Tiger’s apparently numerous infidelities. I do not know what he or Elin did to try to salvage their marriage after the catastrophic revelations of his behaviour. I can only begin to imagine the devastation of betrayal Elin has suffered.

I do know Tiger and Elin were married for five years in which time they had two children. I know Tiger made lots of money playing golf and wearing brand name sports clothes. He travelled a lot. Mostly Elin seems to have stayed home with the children allowing her errant husband to engage in extracurricular activities when he was not on the golf course whacking a ball into a little hole. Then I suppose, having won another tournament and indulged himself with another woman, Tiger would return to Elin and his happy family home.

In order to maintain such a life, Tiger must have kept his various activities isolated in tightly sealed little compartments. Here is golf-Tiger, the supremely disciplined, supernaturally focused, unbeatable athlete playing golf. Here is sponsorship-Tiger, the clean-living, role model appearing on television in a Nike ad. Here is secret-Tiger having sex with a strange woman. Here is family-man Tiger bouncing in the front door at home, after a long trip, kissing his wife and picking up his children for a cozy Daddy-cuddle.

The ability to live a divided life is a powerful and a dangerous skill. To live in one part of your life in a way that contradicts every other part of your life demands deep unconsciousness. To maintain such a divided life, it is essential to lie to oneself and to everyone else in one’s life. To cheat on one’s partner demands living a disintegrated life.

The disintegrated person refuses to see how the parts of his life do not align. The fragments do not fit together into a consistent whole. In fact, the broken bits do violence to one another. This is the really terrifying thing about the disintegrated life. It always ends in violence.

In the “Beatitudes,” Jesus offered a vision for life to which we might aspire, suggesting “Blessed are the peacemakers.” (Matthew 5:9) But immediately prior to this vision, Jesus identified the essential prerequisite to enable a person to be a “peacemaker,” saying, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8) To be a “peacemaker,” a person who undoes the violence of the world, it is necessary to be “pure in heart.”

The Greek word translated “pure” is “katharos.” The word “katharos” bears a similar meaning to the English word “integrity.” “Katharos” could be translated “free from every mixture of what is false,” “sincere,” “genuine.” To be pure in heart is to be integrated within oneself, honest, authentic. It is the opposite of all those qualities that allow one to cheat on one’s most sacred and profound commitments.

Being “katharos” enables one, Jesus said, “to see God.” The disintegrated person is unable to perceive the deep unity of life. The person who breaks a sacred vow is unable to experience the reality that there is a profound force of love, light, truth, and purity at the centre of human existence that is our true nature as beings created in the image of God. The disintegrated person is unable to know himself as he truly is because his life is not whole; it is fragmented into pieces that cannot connect.

A person who is “katharos” is able to live an open life; there is nothing to hide. He is a “peacemaker” because he is at peace with himself. It may never pay as well as Tiger’s golf swing; but, being “katharos” brings riches no money can ever buy.