Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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After I confess and repent, I fall into despair and feel worse than I did before confessing. I go home feeling like I am the biggest sinner and not worthy to be God's child. I am very honest with my father of confession and with my Heavenly Father about my sins; and I thought confession is a type of cleansing. How can I overcome this feeling of self condemnation, guilt and frustration?

Do not confess one sin and fall into another. Despair is a sin. It is a loss of hope which is totally against the teaching of the Holy Bible. It was the sin of Judas Iscariot which led to his destruction. You should remember that God is love and as St. Paul says "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).

When we repent and confess our sins we have hope in God's mercy knowing that He does forgive us. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). Not only does he forgive our sins; but forgets them as well "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more" (Hebrews 8:12).

It is spiritually healthy for everyone to remember their past sins, but without losing hope in the mercy of God. David the Prophet says, "For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me". We repeat David the Prophet's words each time we pray the Agpeya i.e. seven times every day. If we forget our sins; we might repeat them. The point is not to fall into the sin of despair but to think positively  and learn from our own mistakes knowing  that God is always ready to accept us.

Repentance is not to feel good about one's own self. In humbleness, we should trust that God accepts us as His children with all our weaknesses, and hope for His mercy. "The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy" (Psalm 147:11). The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; "Pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate" (Proverbs 8:13). "When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom" (Proverbs 11:2).
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