If we go to a priest and confess all our sins, are we truly forgiven? I asked this question of my spiritual Master. He smiled and said, “As long as you do not repeat the sins and ask forgiveness from the bottom of your heart, no priest, or saint, is required. God will forgive you.” Then I joked with Him and asked, “What happens if I repeat the same sin?” He laughed and said, “Then the consequences of the past sins, with interest, will come back to you.” I understood what He meant. Asking forgiveness for anything and then repeating it means you are not really repentant. It has not hurt you enough. When it disturbs your peace and sleep, you will never do it again because, then, it has ripped your heart. No forgiveness is even needed, as the pain from your actions is enough to cleanse you. All you can do is pray to God to give you the strength not to do it again. Those who have a clear conscience do not repeat these actions, as they feel so miserable. For example, I went to a restaurant for a meal. I did not get a bill for the food I ate. I waited for a while and then, got up and walked away without paying. I was happy that I got a free meal. Later, it bothered me so much that I could not sleep. I went back to the restaurant and paid the bill to buy back my peace. Anytime someone does not charge me, or overpays, I go and settle it right away, not because of the sin and forgiveness, but for my own peace. Once we are able to value peace over everything, then both sins and forgiveness are eliminated from our lives. Priests, do not worry. You will always have enough customers for not everyone will take this path. — Satish Daryanani

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