Quotations about   repentance

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Right actions for the future are the best apologies for wrong ones in the past — the best evidence of regret for them that we can offer, or the world receive.

Tryon Edwards (1809-1894) American theologian, writer, lexicographer
A Dictionary of Thoughts (1908)
    (Source)

Often wrongly quoted, "... best apologies for bad actions in the past."
Added on 9-Jun-19 | Last updated 9-Jun-19
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Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
Isaiah 1:16-17 [NRSV]
    (Source)

Alternate translations:

  • "Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless; plead the widow's cause." [ESV]

  • "Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow." [KJV]

  • "Wash yourselves clean. Stop all this evil that I see you doing. Yes, stop doing evil and learn to do right. See that justice is done -- help those who are oppressed, give orphans their rights, and defend widows." [GNT]

  • Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow." [NASB]
Added on 26-Nov-18 | Last updated 25-Jan-22
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It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation. Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, “Wait on time.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
“Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution,” sermon, National Cathedral, Washington, DC (31 Mar 1968)
    (Source)

Compare to language he used here.
Added on 23-Feb-18 | Last updated 4-Sep-19
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No matter how far you have gone on the wrong road, turn back.

(Other Authors and Sources)
Turkish proverb
Added on 20-Jul-17 | Last updated 20-Jul-17
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The man of business goes on Sunday to the church with the regularity of the village blacksmith, there to renounce and abjure before his God the line of conduct which he intends to pursue with all his might during the following week.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Fabian Essays in Socialism, “The Basis of Socialism: Economic” (1889)
    (Source)
Added on 20-Jan-17 | Last updated 20-Jan-17
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King David and King Solomon
Led merry merry lives,
With many, many lady friends,
And many many wives;
But when old age crept over them —
With many, many qualms! —
King Solomon wrote the Proverbs
And King David wrote the Psalms.

James Ball Naylor (1860-1945) American physician, writer, poet, politician
“King David and King Solomon” (1935)
Added on 5-Jan-17 | Last updated 5-Jan-17
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And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
Luke 18:9-14 [KJV]
Added on 28-Oct-16 | Last updated 28-Oct-16
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Let us have wine and women, mirth and laughter,
Sermons and soda water the day after.
Byron - sermons and soda water - wist_info quote

George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) English poet
Don Juan, canto 2, st. 178 (1819)
Added on 26-Apr-16 | Last updated 26-Apr-16
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If you derive pleasure from the good which you have performed and you grieve for the evil which you have committed, you are a true believer.

Muhammad (570-632) Arabian merchant, prophet, founder of Islam [Mohammed]
The Sayings of Muhammed, #67 [tr. Al-Suhrawardy (1941)]
Added on 1-Mar-16 | Last updated 1-Mar-16
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May you live to be a hundred years,
With one extra year to repent.

(Other Authors and Sources)
Irish proverb
Added on 22-Jun-15 | Last updated 22-Jun-15
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The wonderful thing about God’s love is that maybe we are going to be surprised at the people we find in Heaven that we didn’t expect, and possibly we’ll be surprised at those we’d thought would be there and aren’t. God has a particularly soft spot for sinners. Remember, Jesus says there is greater joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine needing no repentance. Ultimately it all hinges on one thing: our response to the divine invitation. There is hope for us all. God’s standards are quite low.

Desmond Tutu (1931-2021) South African cleric, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Nobel Laureate
Interview with Gyles Brandreth, Sunday Times (15 Apr 2001)
    (Source)

Often paraphrased (possibly the version printed in the Sunday Times): "We may be surprised at the people we find in heaven. God has a soft spot for sinners. His standards are quite low."
Added on 21-Nov-11 | Last updated 26-Dec-21
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If thou confesseth thy Sins and amendest not, thou mocketh God.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Introductio ad Prudentiam, # 661 (1725)
    (Source)
Added on 26-Mar-09 | Last updated 26-Jan-21
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For the wicked are full of regrets.

[μεταμελείας γὰρ οἱ φαῦλοι γέμουσιν.]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nicomachean Ethics [Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια], Book 9, ch. 4 (9.4.10) / 1166b.24-25 (c. 325 BC) [tr. Welldon (1892)]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

For the wicked are full of remorse.
[tr. Chase (1847)]

Whence it is that the wicked are ever full of repentance.
[tr. Williams (1869)]

For those who are not good are full of remorse.
[tr. Peters (1893)]

For bad men are laden with repentance.
[tr. Ross (1908)]

The bad are always changing their minds.
[tr. Rackham (1934)]

For base people are full of regret.
[tr. Reeve (1948)]

For bad men are full of regrets.
[tr. Apostle (1975)]

For bad men are full of regrets.
[tr. Thomson/Tredennick (1976)]

For base people are full of regret.
[tr. Irwin/Fine (1995)]

For bad people are full of regrets.
[tr. Crisp (2000)]

For base people teem with regret.
[tr. Bartlett/Collins (2011)]

Added on 19-Sep-07 | Last updated 18-Jun-22
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O my son!
These are no trifles! Think: all men make mistakes,
But a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong,
And repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Antigone, l. 1022ff [Tiresias] (441 BC) [tr. Fitts/Fitzgerald (1939), ll. 803ff]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:

Then take these things to heart, my son: for error
Is as the universal lot of man;
But whenso'er he errs, that man no longer
Is witless or unblessed, who, having fallen
Into misfortune, seeks to mend his ways
And is not obstinate: the stiffneckt temper
Must oft plead guilty to the charge of folly.
[tr. Donaldson (1848)]

Now, then, my son, take thought. A man may err;
But he is not insensate or foredoomed
To ruin, who, when he hath lapsed to evil,
Stands not inflexible, but heals the harm.
The obstinate man still earns the name of fool.
[tr. Campbell (1873)]

O ponder this, my son. To err is common
To all men, but the man who having erred
Hugs not his errors, but repents and seeks
The cure, is not a wastrel nor unwise.
No fool, the saw goes, like the obstinate fool.
[tr. Storr (1859)]

Think, therefore, on these things, my son. All men are liable to err. But when an error is made, that man is no longer unwise or unblessed who heals the evil into which he has fallen and does not remain stubborn. Self-will, we know, invites the charge of foolishness.
[tr. Jebb (1891)]

Consider this, my son! and, O remember,
To err is human; 'tis the common lot
Of frail mortality; and he alone
Is wise and happy, who, when ills are done,
Persists not, but would heal the wound he made.
[tr. Werner (1892)]

Think, then, on these things, my son. All men are liable to err; but when an error hath been made, that man is no longer witless or unblest who heals the ill into which he hath fallen, and remains not stubborn. Self-will, we know, incurs the charge of folly.
[tr. Jebb (1917)]

Mark this, my son: all men fall into sin.
But sinning, he is not forever lost
Hapless and helpless, who can make amends
And has not set his face against repentance.
Only a fool is governed by self-will.
[tr. Watling (1939)]

Think of these things, my son. All men may err
but error once committed, he's no fool
nor yet unfortunate, who gives up his stiffness
ad cures the trouble he has fallen in.
Stubbornness and stupidity are twins.
[tr. Wyckoff (1954)]

Be warned, my son, No man alive is free
From error, but the wise and prudent man
When he has fallen into evil courses
Does not persist, but tries to find amendment ....
[tr. Kitto (1962)]

Take these things to heart, my son, I warn you.
All men make mistakes, it is only human.
But once the wrong is done, a man
can turn his back on folly, misfortune too,
if he tries to make amends, however low he's fallen,
and stops his bullnecked ways. Stubbornness
brands you for stupidity -- pride is a crime
[tr. Fagles (1982), l. 1131ff]

Therefore, think about this, child. For men,
all of them, it is common to make mistakes.
Whenever he does make a mistake, that man is still not
foolish or unhappy who, fallen into evil,
applies a remedy and does not become immovable.
Stubborn self-will incurs a charge of stupidity.
[tr. Tyrell/Bennett (2002)]

Understand this: All men make mistakes. But when they do, it would be a wise and well acting man who corrected that mistake and moved on rather than stayed there stubbornly and unrepentant. The stubborn man is rewarded with more errors.
[tr. Theodoridis (2004)]

Consider this, my son.
All men make mistakes -- that's not uncommon.
But when they do, they’re no longer foolish
or subject to bad luck if they try to fix
the evil into which they’ve fallen,
once they give up their intransigence.
Men who put their stubbornness on show
invite accusations of stupidity.
[tr. Johnston (2005), l. 1138ff]

Therefore, think on these things, my child; for every human being makes mistakes, but when he has made a mistake, that man is no longer foolish and unhappy who remedies the evil into which he has fallen and is not stubborn. Obstinacy brings the charge of stupidity.
[tr. Thomas (2005)]

Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 21-Dec-20
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What’s the good of being forgiven, if I have to promise not to do it again?

Ashleigh Brilliant (b. 1933) Anglo-American writer, epigramist, cartoonist
Pot-Shots, #1175
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 13-Nov-20
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It may well be that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition is not the glaring noisiness of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. It may be that our generation will have repent not only for the diabolical actions and vitriolic words of the children of darkness, but also for the crippling fears and tragic apathy of the children of light.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
“The Christian Way of Life in Human Relations,” speech, General Assembly fo the National Council of Churches, St Louis (4 Dec 1957)
    (Source)

Often paraphrased: "We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people." See also here.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 18-Jan-21
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