Do Not Give Up Hope

One must not give up hoping in God, for hope is the first step on the way to salvation. Even if you do not travel the road, at least keep the way open. Do not say: ‘I have done crooked things.’ Take the straight way, and there will be no crookedness. Straightness is the attribute of the staff of Moses; the crooks are in the staffs of the sorcerers. When straightness (or truth:) comes, it devours them all. If you have done evil, you have done it [only] to yourself. How could any evil that you may have committed affect Him?
A bird perched on that mountain, then flew off. Look: what did that mountain gain or lose?
Once you get yourself straight, none of that is left [to harm you]. Make sure you never ever give up hope!

(FMF no. 2, 9; DOR 21; SOTU 9–10)

It is interesting that in this heartening passage Mawlana Rumi makes no explicit reference to Divine Compassion and Forgiveness; instead, the emphasis is on the fact that human sins cannot harm the Creator in the slightest. But although we may be weak and discouraged by the apparent difficulty of taking the initiative by following the spiritual Way to remedy them, we must ‘at least keep the way open’ – not allowing negative thoughts to dim our hopes in God or in our ability to mend our ways.
Likewise, there is no explicit mention of the key concept of tawbah,
or repentance. Instead, we are simply urged to ‘take the straight way’ and not to tell ourselves that we have gone astray.
This is not a facile piece of ‘feel good’ philosophy oft he kind often misattributed to this author, who would actually be the last person to suggest that repentance and self-reform are not essential. What he means is that we must never lose hope and become convinced that we are irremediably astray and/or that we cannot be forgiven. The imperative to repent sincerely, make amends to those one has wronged, and start anew is, however, implicit in the exhortation to ‘get yourself
straight’ and in line with the Truth. We must have sincere resolve and confidence in our Creator that through both easy and hard times He always cares for us, providing aid and guidance to help us gain the success He wants for us. Provided we maintain this trust and resolve, there is every reason to be hopeful.

Elsewhere (Diwan, vol. 2, p. 129, ghazal 765) Mawlana tells us never to give up, even if we fear that God has rejected us. If He puts those who seek
Him through trials, it is purely for our ultimate good:

Hey! If the Beloved sends you away,
do not give up hope.
If He dismisses you today, won’t He
call you back tomorrow?
Should He close the door on you don’t
go away, but stay and wait there;
And then, if you have been patient, He’ll
seat you in a place of honour.

And if He should bar against you every
way and every passage,
He will then show you a way through –
one that nobody else knows of.
Excerpt is from A Treasury of Rumi