Don’t let’s turn back to sins we have confessed. The recollection of sins is harmful. Have we asked for forgiveness? Then the matter is closed. God forgives everything with confession. We mustn’t turn back and enmesh ourselves in despair. We need to be humble servants before God and have a sense of gratitude for the forgiveness of our sins.
It is not healthy to be excessively downcast on account of your sins and to turn with such revulsion against your evil self that you end up in despair. Despondency is the worst thing. It is a snare set by Satan to make a person lose his appetite for spiritual things and to bring him into a state of despair, inactivity and negligence. In this state a person is unable to do anything and rendered useless. The person says, ‘I am sinful and wretched, I am this, I am that, I didn’t do this, I didn’t do that… I should have done that then, now it’s too late, nothing can be done… I’ve wasted my life, I am unworthy…’ He is brought into a sense of inferiority and consumed by fruitless self-reproach. Do you know what a destructive thing that is? It is pseudo-humility.
All these things are symptoms of a person in despair whom Satan has brought under his sway. Such a person reaches the point where he doesn’t even want to receive Communion because he regards himself as unworthy of everything. He attempts to negate everything about himself and is rendered useless. This is a snare set by Satan so that a person will lose his hope in God’s love. All this is quite terrible and contrary to the Spirit of God.
I, too, think that I am sinful and that I am not living as I should. Nevertheless, I make whatever distresses me into prayer. I do not shut it up inside myself. I go to my spiritual father and confess it and it is finished and done with. Don’t let’s go back and recriminate and say what we didn’t do. What is important is what we will do now, from this moment onwards — as Saint Paul says, forgetting the things that are behind and stretching forward to the things that are before us. [Phil. 3:14]–Wounded by Love, Elder Porphyrios, p. 175-176