Getting the right medicine for what ails you involves understanding the ailment itself. Giving your doctor all the details of your symptoms helps in making the right diagnosis. It makes no sense to lie to your doctor about your symptoms. He might misdiagnose, and the treatment could be worse than the disease.
Then what sense does it make to hold things back in confession?
Shame and repentance
Shame is a powerful thing. It compels us to hide our sins and avoid repentance. It makes us bury our transgressions in our hearts, where they come to mind again and again. Shame convinces us that we are nothing more than the sum of our sins.
But shame in the face of confession is exactly backward of the proper attitude.
Pay attention carefully. After the sin comes the shame; courage follows repentance. Did you pay attention to what I said? Satan upsets the order; he gives the courage to sin and the shame to repentance.
– St. John Chrystotom
There is no shame in admitting we are sick, and need the care of a physician. The Church is a hospital for sin, and we have a Physician that wants to heal us. But getting the right medicine means an honest assessment of the symptoms.
Getting the right medicine
In the sacrament of confession, it’s important that we’re honest with our priest, and honest with ourselves. I’ll admit that I struggle at times to give a full and honest accounting of my sins. Maybe it’s pride. Maybe it’s the fear that I will have to fully address and give up my favorite sins. But whatever it may be, avoiding true confession denies our priest the ability to help us, and robs us of the chance for true healing.
The sick one who is acquainted with his sickness is easily to be cured; and he who confesses is pain is near to health. Many are the pains of the hard heart; and when the sick one resists the physician, his torments will be augmented.
– St. Isaac the Syrian
Are you ready to really be healed? It starts with the right diagnosis, and getting the right medicine.
Interested in learning more about Orthodoxy? Subscribe to Finding the True Faith and download my FREE ebook, 10 Questions About Orthodox Christianity.