I don’t want to be sorry for the wrong reasons


I was raised Catholic and have not been baptized yet as an adult.

For repentance do we need to go back and set everything right before being forgiven? Must we confess every lie we ever told to every person? Or is asking God to forgive us enough? And to move on from our past. What about lies I have told the police but revealing them would injure innocent parties?

I’m afraid I’m only sorry for my sins because I fear going to hell. I’m afraid I’m only sorry because I fear the consequences of my sins. I don’t want to be sorry for the wrong reasons. I fear I am like Esau, Cain, or Saul.

If my confession to others would injure others who are innocent in the matter be selfish? Is it biblical to confess sins to others as long as it doesn’t bring harm to innocent parties?

I have messed up in my past so much, I want to be truly forgiven.

I have read some people say: ask God for forgiveness and move on fills me with hope and peace. I have read some people say: go back make everything right, ask God for forgiveness. and then move on. It fills me with grief and despair. My sins lay heavily on me.

Is confession to others only necessary when it’s to restore relationships or is a confession of lies, or sins to others necessary regardless of who it may or may not injure or how long ago it was?

I have OCD and I do take medication. My Catholic priest, I use to see, told me I was scrupulous. I need to figure out what God wants, not what my OCD wants or possibly a selfish motive to make myself feel better at the expense of others. At the same time, I don’t want to use it as an excuse to just move on and leave the past behind. I get a thought that says you must be accountable. Commit the sin, face the consequences. On the other side I think, Jesus Christ paid it all for me, ask God to forgive you and move on and in the future act differently.

I’m stuck.


It appears to me that you ask multiple sources and, unsurprisingly, get multiple answers. There is only one source for truth (John 17:17). If you measured everything you learned against the standard of the Bible, you wouldn't be so unsure of what you need to do.

I made a list of the things God connects with salvation. See What Saves a Person?

Repentance is changing our minds about the acceptableness of sin and changing our behavior to not sin. In that change, you will want to fix some of the problems you caused in the past, but many things are not fixable. See Do I need to fix all my past sins in order to repent? Must I confess sins I did years ago before the church? and Do I need to confess every sin I committed?

The problem Esau, Cain, and Saul had is that they refused to change. See Are willful sins irremissible?

Confession is about admitting your belief in Christ. There is no requirement to confess your every sin to be saved. See What must I confess before I am baptized? See What must I confess before I am baptized?

Fear is a perfectly acceptable motivation to share changing your life. "For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter" (II Corinthians 7:10-11). See Fear of the Lord.


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