One day a soldier asked an elder whether God grants pardon to sinners. The elder answered, ‘Tell me, my good friend, if your cloak is torn, do you throw it away?’ The soldier replied, ‘No. I mend it and continue to use it.’ The elder continued, ‘ If you take good care of your cloak, will not God be merciful to his own image?’
Sayings of the Desert Fathers (In T. Merton, p. 113)
God in his love punishes, not to take revenge, far from it. He seeks the restoration of his own image and does not prolong his anger.
ISAAC OF NINEVEH Ascetic Treatises, 73