Sin has an amazing hold over us, such that it not only grips us in its bondage, but then (for the believer) tries to prevent his getting cleaned up afterward. Confession is a wonderful grace, made abundantly available through Jesus' blood. Which Christian hasn't learned 1 John 1:9? But one thing is better than confession. No, I'm not referring to forgiveness (as wonderful as it is), but repentance. It's one thing to know I've done wrong, sinned, and therefore, need to confess it (lit., "to say the same thing about my sin as God would say"). It's quite another thing to repent of that sin. Hear Charles Spurgeon,
Genuine, spiritual mourning for sin is the work of the Spirit of God. Repentance is too choice a flower to grow in nature’s garden. Pearls grow naturally in oysters, but penitence never shows itself in sinners except divine grace works it in them. If thou hast one particle of real hatred for sin, God must have given it thee, for human nature’s thorns never produced a single fig. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.”
I want to-as a Christian-grow to hate the sin that clasps me and fools me. True repentance as about it an attitude of sorrow, sorrow over the sin, for having committed it at all, and for having committed it against such a wonderful Master as Jesus Christ! There's a gloriously cleansing aspect to repentance, when you know that not only do you realize your error, but you truly feel sorrow over it! Sorrow not only "feels" right, but it required.
True sorrow for sin is eminently practical. No man may say he hates sin, if he lives in it. Repentance makes us see the evil of sin, not merely as a theory, but experimentally—as a burnt child dreads fire. We shall be as much afraid of it, as a man who has lately been stopped and robbed is afraid of the thief upon the highway; and we shall shun it—shun it in everything—not in great things only, but in little things, as men shun little vipers as well as great snakes. True mourning for sin will make us very jealous over our tongue, lest it should say a wrong word; we shall be very watchful over our daily actions, lest in anything we offend, and each night we shall close the day with painful confessions of shortcoming, and each morning awaken with anxious prayers, that this day God would hold us up that we may not sin against him. (Morning and Evening)
Lord, drive us to such a place of sorrow, that we may be re-introduced to the garden of your joys!