When a Sinner Repents

There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. -- Luke 15:10

In De Profundis, written by Oscar Wilde when he was imprisoned for his wretched wrong-doing, is this striking sentence: "The highest moment in a man's career may be the hour when he kneels in the dust and beats upon his breast and tells all the sins of his life."

When a man reaches that point where he becomes a penitent for his sins and confesses them to his Maker, he has indeed reached a high point, for he is on the way to divine favor.

Christ taught that the act of repenting for sin is the most momentous of all acts. He tells us that heaven is made glad when a sinner repents. The angels rejoice, and God rejoices.

Be ashamed of it if you have wandered into the far country, but do not be ashamed to say, "I will arise, and go to my Father." Be ashamed of your sins, but do not be ashamed to repent of them and confess them. It is the only way back to self-respect, the only way back to God and the better life.

Let men mock if they will. Let the hostile elder brother turn away from you in his self-righteousness if he pleases. The angels are elder brothers who will stand by you. When Lot started to flee from wicked Sodom, no doubt some mocked. But we are told, "The angels laid hold upon his hand." There are always angels waiting to lay hold upon the hand of the penitent sinner when he turns his back on Sodom and faces about toward God and heaven. Indeed, when a sinner repents he has with him "a vast world of divine, angelic, and saintly sympathy."