Or: What I, as a non-Christian person, have learned from the method of confessing.
Have you done things in your life you are not proud of? That you don't think have been fair and just?
I know I have.
I did steal once (and was caught), I was around 11, I suppose.
I did horrible things to my former cats. Not the hard torture. But I did find some enjoyment in scaring one with the firelighter repeatedly, and did burn her most outer whiskers a tad bit once by accident doing so. I did cut that tiny parts away so nobody would recognize. I must have been around 14.
For my other late tomcat, who died recently, I think I threw him against the sofa pillow at least once. I did put him repeatedly on a 2 meter shelf to jump down, despite him being scared of that height.
When he peed into my room because I was too lazy or distracted to let him out, both out of an abuse of power and the thinking I would be required to punish, I did hold him down below a water faucet for some time into the streaming water.
For both, I hold them under a blanket when I was in the bed or on the sofa, them being despaired and panicking to get out. Maybe I enjoyed having power in a time where others were exerting power over me, maybe I thought big eyes of them would look cute, maybe I wanted to them cuddle with me if they didn't want to themselves.
Unasked, when I was about my late teens or early twenties (I know what you must be thinking - Must have been a long time, right? ) I did lend some of my brothers PC games to a girl/young woman I barely knew, I don't think she was asking for it, but I must have basically forced it upon her. I barely saw her again or was able to reach her, the same to a childhood friend I was able to meet years later, at which I did lend him some games (which were NOT all mine) as well. Of course, the original idea was certainly not to gift them away, but doing so unasked was simply put ethically wrong. If you wonder why I did this - I think, it was in an effort to get some attention, affection, self-consciousness for myself: I mean, if I gave someone something, I must have been useful for them, right?
Even on MLPF, I did misbehave. Quite a lot without recognizing or meaning to, I suppose. But this does not mean I did not harm anyone. Others, albeit I think a few times only, I have been provoking. If you think everything I have done was fine, then you likely didn't get confronted with any of this.
I am not talking about confessions in necessary the sense of to a priest or the Lord, or to the church in general.
How do you confess?
I think...you need to do start with confessing to yourself. If you can't believe or are not honest to yourself, you cannot be to others, or expect them to see that in you.
Confessing means: Admitting the bad behavior. That what you have done was ethically a bad move. Not justifying on what others did. Not blaming on anyone or anything, albeit I suppose explanations - if they don't become excuses - are fine. Condemning your actions.
I believe, we are allowed to make mistakes. Everyone does. It matters that we learn from them, and regret doing them. We are not bad persons because of them. A nice person can have done something horrible, as I did above. I do not care about whether these were legally allowed or not - these have been crimes in ethics on my nowadays moral bar. I regret them, and condemn what I have done.
But what we do or have done does not make us as a whole person. We are allowed, maybe obliged, to call out our own behavior, and others are too, I suppose.
I believe we first need to confess to ourselves, at least to some degree, before we can confess to others. Today, I confessed the above in the box to my brother.
I think, for confessing, it is important that you see what you did wrong and why. Don't confess solely on what other people blame you on - confess on your own ethics bar, which we should always review constantly.
I don't intend to (ever) confess on limited pansexuality, promiscuity or not being subject to the church's rules. I will confess to things I am not fine having done myself and violating my own moral rules (Be honest, don't lie and don't harm anyone).
What does confessing do and why should I confess in the first place?
Obviously, acknowledging to the victims of your ethic crimes you have done something wrong as well as it not being their fault.
But I think there is a misconception people have about confessing: Confessing is not for the victims only. It is for you as well.
It means: Admitting your own mistakes, maybe also promising to yourself (or others) not to repeat them. Condemning your own acts means you can now freely talk about them.
If you have done anything you are not fine with: Are you often not afraid of what others think or would say about if they knew the truth? Isn't having it on your mind once in a time somewhat...pressuring, or at least taking presence? And maybe, you would prefer to let others know?
If you normally, without regrets, would tell someone something horrible you have done - You would be scared of consequences, but likely especially of getting called out, rejected or verbally attacked. But what happens if you are actually able to agree with that person you would speak to beforehand on all of these? What could they even say that you didn't or sincerely believe yourself?
And then, as I do, you can move on. Don't define on what you have done in the past. Regret it, condemn it, see to the future, it is there. It matters who you are know, and confessing is an important step towards that, and who you will be or can be. Strive to better yourself.
And this is a reason why I am also not for Death Penalty. A murderer has done something incredible horrible. But who can say they are the same person 30 years later, and are not regretting their actions? That they did not - or cannot - improve and better as a person? That guy or woman could have learned to have a big positive impacts on others - And to do good.