“There is a vast difference between divine and human sorrow. True contrition occurs when God turns and looks upon us. Human sorrow is us turning and looking upon ourselves. True, there is nothing wrong in turning and looking at oneself – only there is a danger. We can miss the most authentic experience of life in this imitation. For genuine repentance consists of feeling deeply our human helplessness, of knowing how God comes to us when we are completely broken.
In the end, it is God looking into the sinner’s face that matters. Knowing first hand the difference between human and divine sorrow is of utmost importance. It is the distinction the Gospel of Luke brings out in the prodigal son’s life, between coming to himself and coming to his father. “He came to himself,” and then “he came to his father.” So we are always coming to ourselves. We are always finding out, like the prodigal, the miserable bargains we have made. But this is not the crucial thing. Only when we come to our Father in response to his waiting look can we be freed and forgiven.” Henry Drummond (1851-1897)
“And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” Jesus