Abba Milos was asked by a soldier whether God could forgive him, a sinner who had killed many men. The Abba instructed him at some length in the Jesus’ Way of’ kindness and peace. Then the old man asked him, “Tell me, my son, if your cloak was torn would you throw it away?”
“Oh, no!” the soldier replied. “I would mend it and wear it again.”
The old Abba said to him, “Well, if you care for your cloak, will God not show mercy and mend his own Creature, whom he loves?”
“I prefer a person who has sinned if they know they have sinned and repent, over a person who has not struggled with sin and considers themselves to be righteous.” –Abba Sarnatas (1)
(1) The Abbas–also called the Desert Fathers and Mothers–were early Christian leaders in the 3rd to 6th centuries living mainly in the desert of Egypt. People would travel from far and near to seek guidance and listen to their wisdom. The Abbas were wise because they were committed to living simply, spending significant time with God, and seeking Jesus in every moment and action of life, large or small. For more wisdom of the Abbas, see also self-reflection and how not to argue.