25 Quotes about Atonement from Different Perspectives
Atonement, by definition, is actively taking accountability for your wrongdoings. While it is heavily associated with the Christian faith, atonement applies to several contexts, most of which are viewed from a personal standpoint.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines atonement as "reparation for an offense or injury." In Christianity, this term refers to God's reconciliation with humankind through the sacrifice the deity makes of his son.
While atonement is heavily associated with the latter meaning, which has been vastly interpreted, this act can be the result of a personal vow to undo a mistake. Some see it as an attempt to seek forgiveness from those they have wronged.
Others see it as an opportunity to try and forgive themselves or both. In extreme cases, a person can be so engulfed by guilt that they don't see a point in atoning for their actions. For a deeper insight into the differing perspectives on atonement, delve into these quotes below.
Quotes about the Significance of Atonement
"Murder is unique in that it abolishes the party it injures, so that society has to take the place of the victim and on his behalf demand atonement or grant forgiveness; it is the one crime in which society has a direct interest." — W. H. Auden
"What atonement is there for blood spilt upon the earth?" — Aeschylus
"Our responsibility is to learn to draw upon the power of the Atonement. Otherwise, we walk through mortality relying solely on our own strength." — Sheri L. Dew
"The beginning of atonement is the sense of its necessity." — Lord Byron
"True atonement isn't the periodic shaving of karmic stubble via confessional; it requires deep, truthful change. It means doing the hardest thing of all: not making the same stupid mistake again." — Ben Dolnick
"I want to try making things right because picking up the pieces is way better than leaving them the way they are." ― Simone Elkeles, "Perfect Chemistry"
"I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying." ― Nelson Mandela
"I'm too old to recover, too narrow to forgive myself." ― Lillian Hellman, "The Children's Hour"
"And here, shipmates, is true and faithful repentance; not clamorous for pardon, but grateful for punishment." ― Herman Melville, "Moby-Dick or, the Whale"
"It's when I have to acknowledge the past and all of those nameless, faceless people I'd assassinated, that I unravel inside." ― Cheyenne McCray, "The First Sin"
"We cannot do things differently, we cannot carve out different ways of relating to others, until we can take responsibility for what we have done and those we have injured in the process." ― Shellen Lubin
It is not enough to go to a house of prayer and ask God for forgiveness. It is not enough that we forgive each other, not enough to forgive ourselves. We must extend effort to repair damage in which we have participated and/or from which we have received benefit… We must do differently moving forward." ― Shellen Lubin
"Men who do good deeds only wish to atone for their sins." ― Luis Alberto Urrea, "The House of Broken Angels"
"The truth is you can never truly make amends for the hurt you cause; you apologize, you try to atone, at best the scars lighten but they don't disappear. You live with the pain that you pained someone." ― Justin A. Reynolds, "Early Departures"
"...dare we live for one another? Dare we be happy?
Child, it's our only hope. Let us make our love atone for the hate of our fathers. We have been doomed by their sins. Not that...nor anythin' can keep us apart. I am a slayer of men, but I think God spoke to me today." ― Zane Grey, "Tonto Basin"
"Atonement does not always directly help the one we have sinned against. It does not always help anyone at all." ― Mark Eddy Smith, "Tolkien's Ordinary Virtues: Exploring the Spiritual Themes of the Lord of the Rings"
"It was no more than a single grain of sand from a mountain of sins Halsey yeah to atone for, and it didn't change a thing for Kurt, but she had to start somewhere." ― Karen Traviss, "Halo: Glasslands"
"If a criminal was once a saint & a saint was once a criminal, then who is the criminal & who is the saint?" ― Sanchit Gupta, "The Tree with a Thousand Apples"
Quotes about the Power of Atonement
"You can't get real happy or real depressed when you play baseball. Baseball is a great sport in that it offers a player a lot of opportunities for atonement." — Mike Piazza
"Sometimes we carry unhappy feelings about past hurts too long. We spend too much energy dwelling on things that have passed and cannot be changed. We struggle to close the door and let go of the hurt. If, after time, we can forgive whatever may have caused the hurt, we will tap 'into a life-giving source of comfort' through the Atonement, and the 'sweet peace' of forgiveness will be ours ("My Journey to Forgiving," Ensign, Feb. 1997. 43). ― James E. Faust
"Atonement was powerful; it was the lock on the door you closed against the past." ― Stephen King, The Green Mile
"Reaping what you sow is very different, and yet, it is the only thing that can be counted on ... that careful application of self to tasks, continuing to learn from the world and digging deep to learn more about the self, the investment of self in ways of being and doing, bringing about deep and fundamental accomplishments and changes." ― Shellen Lubin
"Karma means that all actions have consequences. Grace means that in a moment of atonement -taking responsibility, making amends, asking for forgiveness - all karma is burned." — Marianne Williamson
"Nothing erases the past. There is repentance, there is atonement, and there is forgiveness. That is all, but that is enough." — Ted Chiang
"How can a novelist achieve atonement when, with her absolute power of deciding outcomes, she is also God?" — Ian Mcewan
Atoning for one's mistakes, irreparable or not, has been a defining deed for mankind. It is encouraged that when one makes a mistake, they seek to rectify it. However, as the quotes above have reflected, it's not always easy.
Sometimes the people who've been wronged struggle to find it in their hearts to forgive. They may need patience and other forms of reparation, but even that isn't always enough. Either way, it is worth trying.
There is a film titled "Atonement," which stars James McAvoy and Juno Temple, that truly encapsulates the essence of the word. Perhaps you'll enjoy these quotes from the movie for a glimpse of what it entails.