Do I have to feel good or have to forget the sins committed when they absolve me of my sins in confession?
Dear brothers and sisters,
Often people tell me they don’t know if God has forgiven their sins because they do not feel peace even after confessing them or memories of the sin still linger. They feel the need to confess again because they believe that, since they have not been erased from their minds or because they do not feel good, God has not forgiven them. The questions that arise are: “Do I have to feel good?” or “Do I have to forget my sins to be sure that God has forgiven me? Do I have to confess again or many times until I feel good?
The answer is that neither of the two things are indispensable for God to forgive. God forgives us even if we do not feel good or even if we do not forget the sins committed.
Of course, the experience of approaching the sacrament of reconciliation would be perhaps more pleasant if each time we approached the sacrament we felt good or if we no longer remembered the sins committed. But the truth is that it is not always like that. We don’t always come out with feeling good, and there are sins that we have committed that are very serious that perhaps we will never be able to forget.
But we cannot condition God's forgiveness to our feelings or our memory. God's forgiveness is a gift from Him to us and does not depend on how we are feeling. Forgiveness is a very great gift that surpasses us, and perhaps even disconcerts us. Many times we are the ones who feel unworthy to receive that forgiveness because we think that God cannot forgive something that great. Or it may be that it is difficult for us to accept forgiveness because we ourselves have not forgiven ourselves or because we put conditions when we forgive others.
But answering the questions that some people ask about forgiveness, the answer is that God forgives us once and for all and his forgiveness is not conditioned by anything or anyone of us. That’s the reality. Even if there is not a good feeling, forgiveness has been given to us. We have to live our lives as forgiven people, freed of those burdens that we carry on our shoulders because of sin.
Fr. Manuel Rosiles, MSpS