Have No Further Concern For Your Sins

have no further concern for your sins

I’m getting a little better at confession. I’m not as good at forgetting my sins.

I try not to hold onto my sins after confession. And I do think I’m getting better at letting go each time I confess. But the temptation to ruminate on our past sins can be powerful.

When I confess, I bring a list of my sins, and make sure to destroy that list after confessing. A priest I spoke with told me he asks for the lists people bring him, so that he can destroy them himself. He doesn’t want someone carrying around their list like an albatross around their neck. Or worse, like a badge.

Have No Further Concern

Confession can be a scary thing. Our hidden sins are revealed. And we give an accounting of the areas where we fall short in our journey. But the fear of confessing should never hold us back.

If you have sinned, acknowledge the sin and repent. God will forgive the sin and once again give you a new heart…and a new spirit. There is no other way: Either do not sin, or repent.” 

– St. Theophan the Recluse

After confession, we receive absolution. Our sins are forgiven by God, and we are made to understand this plainly.

Here are the words of absolution my own priest uses:

“The Lord God through Nathan the prophet forgave David his sin, the adulteress weeping at His feet, Peter shedding bitter tears for his betrayal, and the Publican and the Prodigal son.

“May our Lord and God Jesus Christ, through the grace and bounties of his love towards mankind, forgive you my child, all your transgressions; and I, an unworthy priest, through the power given to me by Him, do forgive and absolve you from all your sins: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

“Go in peace all of your sins are forgiven, have no further concern for them. Please pray for me by name.”

You are not your sins

It’s important to remember that our sins are mistakes. Errors in judgement. Misguided behaviors. They are not an inherent part of who we are. We are not our sins.
 
When we confess, we shouldn’t hang onto our sins. They are forgiven. We need to avoid beating ourselves up, and we need to avoid letting our sins build a home in our hearts.
 
If you are holding onto sins, confess. Then have no further concern for them.
 
If you’re not Orthodox and have questions about the Sacrament of Confession, here are resources from the Orthodox Church in America.

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