We’ve all had those moments. Those face-burning, goose-bump forming, gut-dropping occasions. Regret… Remorse. Last week’s class got me thinking… how do we discern between those who are feigning remorse and those who truly regret their decisions?
Not surprisingly, I’ve seen this in my horse. I have described the following chain of events as following to my horse friends: it’s like a kid pitching a fit going to the doctor. Her actions were explained, yet still unacceptable.
A couple weeks ago I was cleaning her lady-parts (a necessary evil of mares) when she kicked me. Not a warning shot, not a “I’m showing you I’m 10x your size” threat, but a direct and calculated hit. She aimed and was successful. Thanks to my horrific temper, I reacted swiftly, yelling all sorts of colorful things at her and chucking the hard rubber curry comb at her rump as hard as I could. Had my leg not been bruised, a kick from me to the uber-sensitive belly would have followed.
Her body language, even prior to my yelling was that of remorse. It was obvious she wasn’t remorseful of being caught, she regretted her action. She was truly sorry. She didn’t react to my explosive behavior like a typical horse would have- fight or flight. She did neither. She flattened her ears, hung her head and didn’t dare move a muscle. Like any good parent I forgave her but still followed through with the punishment.
Into the rig, an ingenious contraption that’s designed to force (persuade is a nicer word) a horse into the proper position. For a green animal it’s difficult to sustain. Imagine making an out of shape person do wall-squats (isometric) for 15 minutes. Same thing. Round and round she goes, when does she stop? When I say so. My knee throbbed pretty hard. When her compliance and obedience made me feel merciful, the throbbing returned and I continued with the reprimand.
I guess this situation made me realize that I should have retracted my words from last week. I said Lance should have received a lesser punishment if he was truly sorry. Dakota didn’t. She was sorry, and she got the punishment as if she wasn’t. Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.
It reminds me of quite a few Bible passages as well. God is the ultimate good Father, punishing when needed but always forgiving. Forgiveness doesn’t prevent consequences. (Galatians 6:7, 2 Sam 12:13-14) Christian or not, here’s something we need to remember… we will always have consequences for our actions. What we need to realize is if we can deal with the results.