“Never apologize, mister. It’s a sign of weakness.” These words were said by John Wayne in “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon”. Wayne was not like other men; he was the ultimate personification of American Masculinity. As Kristin Du Mez points out, “Wayne would also emerge as an icon of Christian masculinity. Evangelicals admired (and still admire) him for his toughness and his swagger; he protected the weak, and he wouldn’t let anything get in the way of his pursuit of justice and order.” No Pussies Allowed.
Apologizing is not only not masculine, its un-Christian. There is a strong strand of evangelicalism that believes being Christian means never having to say you’re sorry. Your sins – past, present and future – are forgiven, so you don’t need to apologize for anything. “For starters, where in Scripture are we instructed to apologize? I could go so far as to say, ‘Apologies are not biblical’”, one evangelical blogger declared. He’s right, seeing that apologizing is one of the only Christian virtues Jesus didn’t do Himself. And the World’s Perfect Christian, Donald Trump never apologizes.
Evangelicals love victory in Jesus. Evangelicals are pugilistic; they don’t back down. They hold the moral high ground. The worst thing you can accuse a fellow believer of is failing to lead a victorious Christian life. We are Overcomers in Christ. Amongst Bible believing evangelicals, moral self-righteousness is a common form of pride.
Christians need to stop seeing themselves as being more morally and spiritually superior. But saying “I’m sorry and I apologize” makes one emotionally vulnerable and signals a loss of power. If there’s one trait among evangelicals that needs to change is the inability to hold themselves accountable to others – not just God.