12.1.8.5 Repentance and remorse

Repentance results from recognition of one's own shortcomings or misconduct. It incorporates remorse–the feeling of suffering caused by wrongs committed in deed or omission–and the earnest endeavour to change one's attitude and improve. Just how concrete one's repentance must be as a prerequisite for forgiveness may depend on the awareness that one is a sinner and on remorse for sins committed. In addition, there is a significant difference between conscious and unconscious sin.

Also in view of the remorse associated with repentance, it is not the person, but rather God alone, who determines the required measure. If remorse is genuine and deeply felt, and if the willingness to repent expresses itself in the willingness to change one's attitude and conduct, the believer may genuinely hope in God's grace.

In the case of especially weighty incidents, in which one cannot find any inner peace despite believing acceptance of the absolution, the alternative of confession is available (see 12.4.4).

Sincere remorse and willingness to reconcile with one's neighbour belong together. As far as possible, the damage that has been done must also be reversed (Numbers 5: 6-7; Luke 19: 8).

See also