This past week the Smithsonian released a study by Tyler Okimoto claiming the apologizing is not good for you. Notice some of the excerpts taken from this release.
· “When you refuse to apologize, it actually makes you feel more empowered.”
· “People who refuse to apologize ended up with boosted feelings of integrity.”
When I read over these two particular quotes I see something that is exceptionally disturbing about the trend of American Psychology.
The idea of empowerment is not necessarily a good thing. Even by removing religion from the equation we should see the dangers of encouraging people to feel “empowered.” Adolf Hitler surely felt empowered as he sought to completely eradicate what he viewed as a less superior race; the Jews. Napoleon wreaked havoc upon Europe as he empowered himself by building larger armies, and gaining ground. Domitian and other Roman Caesars empowered themselves by excepting worship as a gods. In the process some even put to death anyone who would not call them Lord God and Savior. Of course, I realize that perhaps these are a little extreme and certainly historical examples. So let us draw some modern examples that draw closer to home. A child molester uses his “power” to abuse children. The rapist uses his “power” to rape woman. The murderer uses his “power” to take the life of others. I guarantee you each of these people felt “empowered” as they commit the crime. (Psychological profiling reveals this to be true). Looking over this list of egregious offenses would we really think it is a good idea to not encourage the transgressors to apologize? Is it really a good idea that we encourage these people to think better of themselves for what they have done. (Incidentally the study looked at people who had transgressed against others in a variety of offenses like cutting someone one, stealing, etc). Without even looking at religion we should see that this is wrong. Shouldn’t we? But maybe that is the problem with society right now. They are not looking at the bible. The bible does encourage empowerment. But, it encourages it God’s way. Consider II Cor. 12:9. “And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” We are made strong, we are truly empowered when we allow God to strengthen us. Think about it like this, whose strength sounds stronger. One who has no means to stop death (he can only slow it down), one who cannot create anything from nothing, but must use what is already here, one who despite his best efforts fails often or the one who has conquered death, the one who created all that is by merely speaking it into existence and the one who can never fail… even if He were to have a “bad day” (not that God could have a bad day). Logic dictates that if you really want great strength you would allow God to empower you. I contend the reason why so many today feel weak and empty when they apologize is that God is missing. The expect a “happy comfort” to come over them when they reject the Great Comforter.
Secondly, if someone has a clear misunderstanding of what integrity is. According to Webster’s, integrity means firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values. What moral code is a person firmly adhering to when they refuse to apologize? The best that I could tell is that the psychologists were referring to a personal code of conduct. In other words, what you believe is right. What you believe is proper. I tell you, it is as if they make this stuff up as they go along. If everyone has the right to create what is right in their own eyes what makes the murderer wrong? What makes the rapist wrong? What makes the child molester wrong? What makes the thief wrong? What make the person who embezzles millions of dollars and causes many to lose their job wrong. If it seemed right to them, who are we to say they their conduct was wrong? My friends, it does not take a rocket scientist or a biblical theologian to see the errors and dangers of such logic. If we go around teaching people, especially our children, that pride (or the refusal to apologize) is the foundation of integrity what kind of future can we really hope for?
I tell you this my friends, more and more I read Habakkuk’s words and wonder maybe we are saying the wrong prayers. “O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you "Violence!" and you will not save? Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted (Hab 1:2-4).” ~WTK
Grinnell church of Christ
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Don't Apologize: It's Bad for Your Health
Volume 4 Issue 19