Bishop Panteleimon (Shatov), Chairman of the Synodal Department of Church Charity and Social Service.
At confession, you need to repent, listing your sins. Sometimes, coming to confession, people begin to tell something like the following: “I came home yesterday, my husband met me, he, as always, was drunk, I reproved him and he began to shout at me, I got angry and hit him in his face. I, of course, did the wrong thing. But what could I do?..” This is not a confession. The confession should be a repentance, and not a story about your life, and, moreover, with an attempt to justify your sins.
Although there are people who, by their simplicity, do not know how to repent in any other way. And, of course, their confessor will accept their confession in this form, but nevertheless it would be more correct to say this: “I am angry, I am very irritable; when my husband misbehaved, I got angry, hit him in the face. I am very sorry about this, I repent. I asked him for forgiveness and I promise God that I will never do this again.” This is how, it seems to me, the correct confession will sound.
Often people write a lot in their notes, they tell too much about something, it is not entirely correct. There is an opposite thing, also wrong, when a person simply lists his sins in separate words: “I sinned with vanity, despondency, irritation ...” “I broke my fast, I had bad thoughts,” the children say “I misbehaved...” What does “vanity” mean? What does irritation mean? What do bad thoughts mean? What do you mean saying “misbehaved”? We should not speak in general terms about the passion that works in you, it works in everyone, but about how this passion manifests itself in you. For example, it would be more correct to say not “I was annoyed with my daughter,” but “I humiliated my daughter, called her with bad words, hit her ...” Or, for example, pride... How does it manifest itself, your pride? You humiliate other people, look down on everyone, you are rude to someone, wanting to humiliate him? That is, confession should not be a detailed story of all the circumstances of a particular case, but should be repentance for specific sins, but, on the other hand, these sins should not be designated by one word.