"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Feigned Repentance

Our puppy is now a bit over 3 months old and has already learned to pretend to repent. Do we, as humans, learn this as fast? She has learned and clearly knows that when the back door opens, she is to sit, stay and not bolt inside. We have practiced this, trained toward this and punished her when she has not complied. With both positive and negative reinforcement, this has been a daily training for the past 2 months. Daily we have worked on this and 9 times out of 10 she obeys the rule. She has shown that she knows what to do by generally obeying the clear rule: door opens... I sit, I stay and I get a treat and a "good girl". It has worked.

Generally, when she is punished (a stern "no" or a loud sound), she bends her head and starts to roll into a submissive position. This is normal dog behaviour and a good sign. It is quite cute, actually and we all want to smile and lavish love on this repentant sight. But, today it was less amusing when she took the lowered-head position, tilted as if to fall into the submissive state and then with strong perseverance (and still in the "half-submissive-position" pushed her way through the door). It was as if she was saying, "Yes, I know I am not supposed to do this... I know I am making a bad choice... but, I really must. I have to. I just can't help myself." But, she says with her actions, "see, do you see... I am submitting" (and rebelling at the same time!??)." Of course, her submission wasn't even close to real submission. It was a strangely human-like rebellion. Her actions clearly stated, "I will pretend here that I am obeying; but, really, I am making my way and doing what I want to do. But, look at me... I am a good girl-- I am so very sorry as I do it!"

Doesn't it sound like the good-'ol phrase, "better to ask for forgiveness than permission".

Feigned repentance. It is quite a sad and pitiful thing to watch. For our puppy put herself in a submissive pose, but actually was rebelling with purposefulness. We humans might say, "Yes, I am sitting down; but, I am standing up on the inside." Oh! How we have perfected the art of feigned repentance.

Repentance means that you see the wrong and turn from it. Any movement toward the sin, or the disobedience negates all real, genuine repentance. This is true of our pup and very true of me. How often do I say "I am sorry" to my husband, but hold within somewhere an "buy really this is why I had to say this to you" feeling in my depths. "I really have the right to be angry like this, I think to myself... but on the outside I am apologizing for my rude behaviour or angry outburst.

We bow our heads, say our "sorry" and persevere forward in our own way... whether it be thought or deed.

When I know what I ought to do and do not do it... when I know what I ought not do and yet do it--- all somewhere deep within trusting, or assuming, or presuming upon the grace of God. This is a pitiful sight. Like my sweet pup who bows her head in repentance as she disobeys with gusto...

Lord, may I feel the weight of my sin and know Your thoughts about my deeds, my heart and my thoughts. May I have true repentance and turn from my sin. May my submission be genuine and my I be aware of my rebellious ways.
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