Preparation for Holy Confession
A definition of sin (amartia) is missing the mark that Christ set for us through His mission and teachings. These sins are things that build up between us and God and turn us away from Him. We should constantly be looking at our lives and evaluating our relationship with God. We can turn our sins from something negative into something positive. Through self-examination and repentance (metanoia - a change of heart) our sins can become something that bring us closer to God. Our sins become not an end to our relationship with God, but a new beginning.
After a self-inspection of our souls and consciences, we're ready for the Sacrament of Confession. Our relationship with God can never be reduced to a list of mistakes. That's why confession is not simply a listing of our sins. The following self-examinations assist us as we examine our deeds and imperfections as human beings. Our confession of these shortcomings is made to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the presence of His priest - our spiritual Father on earth - who listens, gives advice, and then reads the prayer of forgiveness over us. All sincerely confessed sins are forgiven in the Sacrament by God.
Holy Confession Check List
1. Have I kept my belief in God in good times and in bad?
2. Have I blamed Him for things that have happened to me?
3. Have I failed to ask His forgiveness?
4. Have I refused to forgive someone?
5. Have I intentionally missed the Divine Liturgy?
6. Have I failed to receive Holy Communion for some time?
7. Have I taken His name in vain?
8. Have I behaved disrespectfully in church?
9. Have I learned about my faith at every opportunity?
10. Have I helped His Church and her institutions according to my ability?
11. Have I been hateful or slanderous toward anyone?
12. Have I respected my family, priest, bishop, fellow Orthodox and others?
13. Have I wanted to get even with someone?
14. Have I desired harm to come to others?
15. Have I been jealous?
16. Have I gossiped?
17. Have I caused anyone shame or humiliation?
18. Have I judged another person?
19. Have I cheated anyone?
20. Have I lied?
21. Have I stolen, or kept something belonging to others?
22. Have I willfully had impure thoughts and desires?
23. Have I taken part in impure acts?
24. Have I kept the Ten Commandments?
25. Have I kept Christ's Commandment to love all others?
The Ten Commandments
I am the Lord your God, and you shall have no other gods before me.
Has God been the source, center and hope of my life? Have I put myself, others or things before God? Have I failed to trust in God's existence, love and mercy? Have I failed to pray to God, to worship Him and to thank Him for His blessings? Have I tried to serve God and keep His commandments faithfully? Have I murmured or complained against God in times of hardship? Have I glorified God through my words and deeds?
You shall not make for yourself any idol. You shall not bow down to them or worship them.
Have I valued anyone or anything above God? Have I given to anyone or anything the love, honor and worship that belong to God alone? Have I made an idol of any person, idea, occupation, or thing?
You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
Have I disrespectfully used God's holy name in any way? Have I sworn a false oath? Have I broken any solemn vow or promise? Have I entered into an agreement, promise or contract against God's law? Have I used foul language?
Remember and keep the Lord's day holy.
Have I worshiped regularly on Sundays and major feast days and have I helped others to do the same? Have I worked unnecessarily on Sundays or major feast days or caused others to do so? Have I spent the Lord's Day in wholesome and edifying ways?
Honor your father and mother.
Have I loved and respected my parents as I should? Have I neglected them or failed to help them? Have I disobeyed them, deceived them or caused them pain by my words or deeds? Have I treated all my family members with patience and love?
You shall not murder.
Have I caused the harm, injury or death of anyone? Have I wished my own or anyone's harm or death? Have I been cruel to animals or destroyed any life unnecessarily?
You shall not commit adultery.
Have I committed any immoral acts alone or with others? Have I caused others to commit immoral acts? Have I committed immoral acts in my heart?
You shall not steal.
Have I taken anything that was not mine from anyone or from anywhere? Have I cheated anyone? Have I caused others to steal or cheat? Have I tried to find the owners of lost things I have found? Have I damaged or destroyed anything that belonged to another? Have I defrauded anyone of rightful wages? Have I paid my debts? Have I given to the poor and to philanthropic causes in proportion to my means?
You shall not false witness against your neighbor.
Have I given false testimony against anyone? Have I spoken evil, told lies or spread rumors about anyone? Have I disclosed to anyone the sins and faults of another? Have I made careless statements or done anything else to harm the name and reputation of another? Have I engaged in idle gossip?
You shall not covet.
Have I looked with envy, jealousy or hatred toward the possessions, talents or achievements of others? Have I desired the downfall or loss of others out of evil intent that I might benefit? Have I grieved that God has bestowed greater blessings on others than on me?
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