WESTERN WISDOM, Season 5, Episode 19, "Old What's-His-Name" audio podcast by award-winning western author Stephen Bly. Sponsored by BlyBooks.com Legacy Series. "The Outlaw Within" blog post article found here: https://www.blybooks.com/2023/06/outlaw/
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OUTLAW IS HIS NAME
Slick Bates was mighty happy when I visited with him at the Drover’s Café yesterday. He had been down to the livestock auction on Saturday and sold a horse for 78 cents a pound.
Now, selling a horse by the pound means that it was bought by the canners. I don’t suppose I need to detail the implications of that. It speaks for itself. Considering the fact that Slick had paid only $250 for the horse and that it weighed close to 1,000 pounds, you can see he was pleased with the profit.
Of course, he didn’t factor in two years of winter feeding, nor the salt block, whole oats, deworming paste, vaccination shots, and repairs to the corral after the horse kicked the gate down. Cone to think about it, Slick probably didn’t count two years of getting bucked off, stepped on, stomach kicked, and arm bit either.
The black gelding had never really been rideable, but Slick was too stubborn to admit it. Every month or two I’d see him hiking up out of the canyon with a ripped shirt and mud sticking to the top of his hat.
Slick never got around to naming the horse, but he called it about every name in the book. As far as I’m concerned, he could just call it Outlaw because that’s what it was. For a hundred and fifty years, vicious and untamable horses had been called outlaws. The term was used equally concerning men or animals.
I suppose outlaw will be one of those words that last a long time, since there seems to be some outlaw in all of us. The Scriptures call this lawlessness.
The Bible says, “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4).
Couple that verse with the one that states, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).
Fortunately for you and me, it’s a curable condition. The Bible makes it plain that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Of course, we are given the freedom to reject that provision. In that case we remain outlaws. Such a condition seals our destiny. For the day will come when all outlaws are sent to a place much more frightening than the canners.