Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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I am wondering, will God forgive my past sins? In my past job, I used to have my breaks longer than usually which means that I was not working the total hours for which I was paid. I confessed this to my father of confession and he absolved me for this. In my next confession, I told him that I still feel guilty. He told me that I need to forgive myself for it, for God has forgiven me already. I still feel guilty for being dishonest in the past. Do I have to do something to undo this? Will God tell me, when I am standing in front of him after I die, that I should have returned the money that I unworthily accepted to the rightfully owner? I continually feel guilty and fear. What should I do?

We must trust in the Holy Mysteries completely. One of them is the priesthood. Thus, your confession father is responsible for you. In this sacred Mystery, he is guided by the Holy Spirit and advises you accordingly. Therefore, having received absolution, this sin has been completely erased. We can learn some important lessons from Zacchaeus, the penitent that was driven by greed before he encountered the Lord Jesus Christ. Zacchaeus's life was dramatically transformed after he met Christ and spent time with Him (read Luke 19:1-10). Though the Lord absolved him from his sins, Zacchaeus desired to recompense those from whom he stole. This can be a fruit of repentance, which St. John the Baptist instructed the penitents. For some people, it is not enough for them to just say, "I am sorry." Sometimes, their course of life changes, like St. Paul, who was transformed from one who persecuted the Church to a man that joyfully took pride in referring to himself as a "bondservant of Jesus Christ" and became a missionary, preaching and defending Christianity and writing letters to the churches and the believers to strengthen their faith, and at the end, he gladly welcomed martyrdom. His new life was the fruit of transformation, not guilt. Thus, if you feel compelled to restore what you acquired dishonestly, discuss options with your confession father. Perhaps, your former employer may blame you for something else that you did not do, or press charges against you, or pursue hardships on you by writing negative reviews about you for your prospective employers. Is there an avenue to donate to this company? Perhaps, you can donate these monies to a charity? Discuss options with your confession father. If he is adamant that there is nothing else you need to do, then obey, and let this experience be a reminder to be as honest as possible in the future. Having said that, be confident that the sins for which you confess are absolved if you truly repented because Confession is a Holy Mystery, and there is no reason to be driven solely by guilt.
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