What Redemption Presupposes

Hi Persuader,

I had a flash of something as I watched Michael Vick apologize and it’s the idea of redemption.

Vick says he takes full responsibility for his actions, which included killing pit bulls that didn’t perform well and a dog fighting conspiracy charge. He apologized to the NFL and to the Atlanta Falcons and said he would redeem himself.

Then the owner of the team started discussing the situation and said basically the following:

“I can’t stand in front of you today and tell you that Michael Vick will no longer be with our team. I don’t think that would be in the best interest of our team, and certainly there are legal contracts and monetary situations that have to be dealt with. I believe that Michael needs to pay his debt to society. However, I am also a believer in redemption.”

So is redemption a possibility? Can he truly redeem himself?

I got to thinking about the word redemption because when I heard that, the thought began to echo in my mind.

A huge part of persuasion is learning how to persuade ourselves. And in persuading ourselves, we begin the process of (and hopefully get to) the very core of forgiveness – forgiveness for ourselves and for anyone else who has really upset or hurt us.

Forgiveness is selfish.
It’s the right thing to do, but it will also free you up, free up your life. And that is ultimately in your self interest.

Beyond forgiveness is redemption.

How did redemption, redeem and redeeming, become popular in our lexicon? And how is it that human beings can focus on something like redemption?

It became clear to me that the human condition is one of constantly making corrections. Some of us take longer to learn from our mistakes than others, but we as persuaders who are hopefully tuning in to human nature and our own natures should begin to realize that as we have our ups and downs, we can absolutely lock on to what is working for us and abandon what is not.

From the time we are little children learning to walk, we start falling. As we fall forward we learn to catch ourselves by moving a leg forward. In fact, we get so good at it that we no longer consider it falling, we consider it walking. But if you think about it, you’re really purposefully putting yourself into a position of needing to do something or landing on the floor.

We’re redeeming our fall. We’re redeeming ourselves and continuing our direction by putting out our foot into the direction that we want to go and thus keeping ourselves upright.

The human condition is one of constant correction.

Some believe this goes much deeper than an ongoing correction, clear to the root of spirituality. For Christians, we’re born into a life of sin and it’s only through the grace of God that we are able to have salvation.

Salvation and redemption are closely linked.

Let’s apply this to persuading the affluent. We – the affluent, all of us – have as a root of our psychology the need to redeem ourselves and to allow others to be redeemed.

What does this all presuppose?

In order to have redemption, must there not first be a judgment of right or wrong? I believe there does.

So the word redemption presupposes a judgment. First and foremost, something went wrong. Then there was a judgment that it went wrong, and then a desire not to repeat it and to move forward.

So as the timeline progresses, the word redemption moves from a judgment to an action that allows us to repair what went wrong and caused the judgment of wrong to be applied.

The best part, and in this Michael Vick is very lucky, is that wherever there’s redemption, there’s opportunity. He may not have the same opportunities he had before, but there’s certainly an opportunity for growth, a chance to excel and create a new paradigm. And wherever there is a new paradigm on the inside, there will truly be a shift of experience on the outside.

It’s incredibly interesting and educational for us as persuaders to examine these current events, scandals, and the like to see just how much persuasion is involved in everyday life.

What are your thoughts about the Michael Vick story? What about other stories in the media? I enjoy hearing from you and I value the exchange of ideas on this blog. So, post your thoughts here, and remember to rate this article by clicking on the stars at the top below the title.

Until Next Time,

Kenrick E. Cleveland

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 12 comments
George - September 6, 2007

As I see it, redemption requires two parties that agree on what is to be surrendered and what is to be returned. Mr. Vick has to decide what he wants to have returned – his career, his reputation, etc. The grantors of these items, the NFL and the media, then need to decide what Mr. Vick needs to surrender. Only after a mutually agreeable exchange occurs can there be redemption.

It seems easy. But if the media and the NFL were so easily fooled about Mr. Vick’s reputation the first time, perhaps they should not be the grantors in this redemptive arrangement.

Who should it be?

Brennan Kingsland - September 6, 2007

Yes, forgiveness is a wonderful thing. And yes, it truly does free us from bearing the burden of grudges, etc.

However, we must also learn from our mistakes and the mistakes of others, if we are to avoid endlessly repeating those mistakes.

I watched Michael Vick’s alleged apology and it does not take a genius to figure out where he is coming from. Yes, he’s sorry, but for what? He’s sorry he got caught and he’s sorry he spoiled his football career. That’s what he’s sorry for. NOT for the torture he put helpless animals through, and NOT for being involved in illegal gambling and cruelty.

If you listen carefully, you’ll see that he only apologizes for “being immature”. Bah! It is NOT immaturity to kill animals, it is CRUELTY. It is NOT immaturity to consider yourself above the law, it is EGO.

Yes, Michael Vick is “sorry” – not for the years of brutality he inflicted on living, sentient animals (he’s been doing this since high school) – but for getting caught.

It’s a sad fact that he has poisoned the minds of countless young fans, who see this bestial behavior as “cool” and “the Bomb”.

Yes, in the name of “redemption” he’ll be back playing football, just as soon as he gets his inconvenient, plea-bargain “debt to society” over with. But why should this surprise anyone? A couple thousand years ago, we had the Roman coliseum for spectator sport. Imagine how much more exciting it will be to know that the quarterback for your football team is truly blood-thirsty.

Sends chills up your spine, doesn’t it?


Raymond Fellers - September 6, 2007

I don’t have the required insight or knowledge of this incident to remark about the Michael Vick case. (I stopped watching all TV several months ago, and most “news”papers are a joke.)

However, I will comment on your step by step analysis of the story as it applies to redemption. Seems to me that you are right on target as you progressed from one logical step to the other. Your examples throughout the process are very good.

I envy people who can reason with such clarity and not get muddled with emotional reactions during the process.

Michael Vick’s participation in dog fighting (I accept the report as a proven fact) is only one example of how certain groups of people can escape their responsibilities to society as a whole. If the dogs had been crickets or crocodiles would the offense seem less important? I wonder.

Thanks for a great site, Ray

JohnBurrows - September 6, 2007

Is Mr. Vick a Product of the country he was raised in?

JohnBurrows - September 6, 2007

It was cruel also to enslave another HUMAN BEING but it happened. Will anyone forgive the slavemaster for his evil ways? Is it immaturity that cause other men to treat Humans in such a baqrbaric behavoir? If anyone has a bestial nature look at the gene pool that has rape, bombed, invaded, and stolen every thing they have now, now who’s 3/5th of a HUMAN.

Jim Greene - September 6, 2007

Mr. Kingsland’s analysis is right on target. In our society the dollar is a very strong influence very often over shadowing religious principles, ethics and morals. Because professional athletes and other media “celebrities” have the ability to generate such large revenues for those who market their notoriety and talents for profit and gain, these individuals grow their egos to the point that they consider themselves above the law and above the ethical and moral values that govern the behavior of the rest of us. Our society has its values pretty screwed up. As a culture we have forgotten how we got to be the most blessed people on the face of the earth.

David Owens - September 6, 2007

There seems to be a lot of public people making giant mistakes and hope that publicly apologizing at a press conference will make everything go away.
I don’t forgive Michael Vick for his cruelty’s as I think his cruelty’s have simply been unmasked.
I’m sorry does not go very far when a bullet is fired into the head of a murderers victim.You can’t take that back.
I believe in some cases a person can become sincerely sorry and achieve redemption over a period of time when the offender has “proven”that they are truely sorry.
I doubt very much that the thing in M.V that caused him to get pleasure out of his dog business will just go away after a few days.
I think M.V is sorry that this exposure could cost him millions.I think his rabid fans his people and his mother will accept his apology.
I believe M.V’s public appology was drafted by his attorney so I forgive the attorney.

Jeff - September 6, 2007

Interesting thoughts and opinions…

What we have been exposed to are several independent items. Mike Vick, NFL, dog fighting and the media all rolled up into a circus event, thanks to the media.

Lets examine the media – we all know that the media will only report and rehash to the nth degree every area of controversy and then keep going and going for only one self serving purpose: ratings which translates to money. Compare the Iraq War to WW II. We never questioned (to any measurable degree) our involvement against the Nazis & the Japanese, in fact our soldiers were glorified for making our nation safer and a greater place to live. There was substantially more distruction, collateral damage, loss of the innocent in WW II. What was the difference? We needed to sell War Bonds to finance the War, pure and simple.

This is the sole foundation to all of the stressors with these types of events. Clearly, they hire only the best persuasion doctors money can buy. Kenrick be more mindful of who you train!! Ha, ha.

Can the media redeem it self ? Of course and we all know that that’ll never happen!

Mike Vick – Do I believe his apology ? Absolutely. Although his language was somewhat orchestrated, he cannot hide from his true motive and interest. The reason I do believe him is because his surface motive for the apology is abundantly clear – he got caught and he cannot stomach the massive loss of money and the permanent damage to his ego.

Any human being who can knowingly & willingly involve themselves in the blatent murder of life and never exhibits any remorse during those acts (if he did he would have stopped the entire fight circuit with which he was involved) must be punished accordingly.

Can he redeem himself ? Absolutely and there is a price to pay. He must remove himself from the influences, both ebb & flow, from the public in any area of professional sports. This should not be any question and he should turn his back and start his “new life”.

I am a firm believer in God and the Bible is clear that He will forgive anybody for anything and start to make the person new again from the inside out, providing there is true repentence and that that individual agrees to follow God’s plan.

The NFL – This is a no brainer. If the MLB can ban one of the greatest baseball players of all time, Pete Rose for gambling (and not on dog fights), what’s the problem, why is there even a question ? The NFL has no choice but to ban him forever. The contracts, the money has zero to do with it. Integrity demands it.

Can the NFL redeem itself ? No, not if they keep Vick in ANY capacity.

Dog Fighting – The only acceptable form is with remote control model airplanes.

Nelson - September 6, 2007

Kenrick wrote “So the word redemption presupposes a judgment. First and foremost, something went wrong. Then there was a judgment that it went wrong, and then a desire not to repeat it and to move forward.”

I feel that there is more criteria that can be elicited, discovered, revealed from
an affluent subject such as M V. Any personal bias on my part could get
in the way of any persuasion or influence that I attempt. Sensing M V through
what he reveals is important so that I can catalog another way that affluent people

I’ll leave the judging for someone else. Who knows, this might be good thing
what M V is going through. I mean…people are talking about it eh?

Jeff - September 8, 2007


When you say – ” Any personal bias on my part could get in the way of any persuasion or influence that I attempt. Sensing M V through what he reveals is important so that I can catalog another way that affluent people behave” are you not judging the and or compartmentalizing the “affluent”?

I believe bias and judgment is not only natural but also unavoidable for all of us and, yet, it can be extremely useful factor to recognize in (our) persuasion.

It has been my experience that rapport cannot be successfully achieved until I move THROUGH and with my biases and addresses the receivers concerns (bias, worry, concerns, joy, fear etc).

Once that has true rapport been accomplished (getting fully engaged into their brain and communication patterns et al) you may discover that people are just people and rich, poor, educated and _____________ (fill in the long blank) is only a condition or circumstance. We all have the same common thread of “human” emotions. How people hold affluence is actually quite a fun and a silly game.

As for our subject Mike Vick, unquestionably, this is a good thing for MV to go through. It will invariably lead to personal growth and humility at some level… hopefully it bonds permanently.

Dr Bill Toth - September 18, 2007

Kenrick – If redemption presupposes a “wrong” and “judgement”. Then so must Forgiveness also presuppose a “wrong” and “judgement”. That begs the question
“wrong” according to whom and by what or whose standards, AND begs the questions who would be doing the judging?

Both scenarios would then seem to deny the existence of a “perfect plan” according to
the will of one’s creator. Which by definition relieves humans of the role of “judge” and makes both forgiveness and redemption a myth because in some way shape or form it’s all acording to “His will” anyway. Or not.

Live with Intention,

The Mad Webmaster - March 19, 2008

Mike Vick did not persuade me that me felt a wrong.

I would argue that he was reading what his “handlers” gave him as talking points for damage control.

This is the “soup of the day” for the elite.

“If you mess up, say you found Jesus, and try not to laugh.

Just my 3 1/2 cents (adjusted for inflation)

The Mad Webmaster


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