Non-Catholic Christians?

About Confession. I know in the Catholic faith, we go to a priest, confess our sins and do our pennance. But, I've been told (repeatedly) that other Christian faiths don't. They just pray to God.

So, I gotta know how you do that. Do you pray after you commit a sin? Do you confess to God on a weekly basis (God, this week I cussed, I lied to my boss, and let Timmy talk me into seeing that dirty movie kind of thing)?

I'm not trying to be sarcastic or mocking or anything like that. I really want to know. Until I came here, I honestly thought that Confession was a Christian thing, not a Catholic thing.

30 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I believe that the Protestant logic is that since God can forgive the sin, might as well talk to him directly.

  • 1 decade ago

    Confession is a Christian thing. The difference is that the Catholic church confesses to a human being. The rest of the Christian churches do not follow this. However, in a way, we do the same thing. I am United Methodist. Every Christian has gone through a time when they did something so wrong that they needed someone to advice them on what to do with the consequences of it. Many times I've "confessed" to friends to see some perspective about what I need to do.

    Confession to a Priest is a Catholic sacrament. In other churches, the sacraments are limited to communion and baptism, for the most part. The idea in the Protestant church is that one doesn't have to go to a human being in order to confess a sin, it is that one can go directly to God first. Yes, I confess my sins. Some people do it immediately. Some people do it at the end of the day. Some people do it every couple of days. I live my life as a prayer, so there is no designated time that I confess my sins. It is simply a part of a prayer.

  • 1 decade ago

    People do it at different times. There is no "little sin" or "big sin", but people tend to think in those terms. For example, for me it's a lot easier to say (in prayer) Dear God, I overate today. I"m sorry. Please forgive me. I'll try to do better. (by the way, over eating is a problem for me), than it is to confess some of what I think are bigger, more important, and harder to confess issues.

    For me, I try to be specific. In your example of lieing to the boss, I would say something more specific than I lied to my boss. I would do my best to recall the words I used, the sentiment attached to it, my real meaning, why I did it, and try to come up with ways to not let it happen again.

    In your example of getting talked into seeing a movie you knew better than to see. I'd admit that I knew better, chose to do it anyway, express heart felt sorrow for it (if I did in fact feel genuine godly sorrow for it), if I didn't feel sorrow for it, ask that my heart be softened to the point that I can feel sorrow for it, discuss ways to avoid and handle the situation better next time, and resolve to do so.

    Most of the time it takes more than just a few minutes, or a quick prayer. Once I harbored ill feelings for my boss. I felt that I wasn't doing anything wrong, so it must be her. I prayed that God would help her to change and stop being so _____, and doing the things that really bugged me about her personality/behavior. I had barely thought the words when the thought came to mind that it was her/JUST her that needed help to change, but that I did too. It was a very humbling experience. So I prayed that my heart would be softened too. I prayed this prayer everyday, and over the course of about 6 - 8 weeks I noticed a marked difference in my attitude towards her. Now I have a much better work relationship with her.

    It just takes time. I sort of roll the whole repentance process and confession into one thing, because confession of sin is part of the repentance process. Sometimes I can confess a sin and it seems to be easy, other times it may be weeks or months or even years later that I confess a sin.

    I have a feeling that the whole process of sin confession and asking for forgiveness is very different between Catholics and non-Catholics (Protestants, JW's, Mormons, any one else who's Christian but not Catholic)

    So, my turn. Do Catholics feel that once they confess their sins to a priest that they don't have to do anything more? Yes, they have to do the pentance the priest prescribes, but that's it, right?

    (I'll post this as a question too)

  • 1 decade ago

    I am a Protestant Christian. I talk to God. I suppose that many people call it prayer, but that gives the image of people having to kneel and hold their hands a certain way. I might do something like that, but I typically don't.

    So anyways, I just talk to Him, sometimes emotionally, sometimes not. Sometimes I just tell Him about things that I'm thinking.

    I don't try to present God with a 'grocery list' of things I've done. I sin a lot more than that. I might not even know certain things that I did that would spark Him a little more than the things I know I did after all.

    So the priest to me is in the way. God is there for me, every time! Whether I am in the right, or in the wrong. He's listening everytime.

    You see, my goal isn't focused on me. My goal is to trust God more each day. He already knows that I am a sinner, that's why He came to save me. Besides, I told him that I am a sinner, so by my own words I am condemned, unless I focus on Him and trust Him with what He said.

    I don't want to go a whole week before taliking to Him, and praising Him. That would be ridiculous of me to do. Or to think that someone else had to be there for me to do so.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Well, I am not sure how other faiths do there sins forgiving thing. But Catholics do this because the priests follow are like the apostles. Jesus said toward the end of the Gospel according to John, that "if you forgive the sins of sinners, they are forgiven, if you retain the sins of sinners, they are retained. Priests have that same power. Catholics started that. Since Jesus started the Catholic religion through St. Peter, the first Pope, Jesus gave that power to the apostles and down through time to the priests, etc. Praying and saying sorry to God is one thing, but going to the Priest or an Ordained person, like a a Priest or above in rank, is how you get that sin forgiven fully and then try not to do that sin again. Generally they say before each mass get your sins forgiven which is generally once a week, some people say once a month and others say as soon as you have committed a sin. Anyone who is Catholic can have sins forgiven, even if they have not gone in a long time, like 30 years, its never to late, remember, no one can enter heaven with mortal sin on there soul, smoking falls under" thou shall not kill ", you are killing yourself slowly, it doesn't just meen that killing other people is wrong, it meens anything related to killing. Knowingly doing a sin that you know is a sin is then classed as mortal if you do it purposly. When I leave from a confession, I feel a lot better than when I went in. I actually feel like I am going to cry while I am confessing sins, don't know why, and it takes a lot to make me cry, seriously. But I do feel a lot better than before I went in as soon a I leave the confessional. Hopefully that helps.


  • 1 decade ago

    Regular self examination, confession (to God or another person) repentance and resolve to make amendment of life are common to all Christians.

    It is always God who forgives. The priest does not forgive, but announces God's forgiveness to you. Only God can forgive.

    Some folks do better talking to a person, others do better praying in private. Both are just fine.

    The Catholic church USED TO require weekly confession, that is no longer the case.

    Reflecting on the day, each evening, is a good thing to do. The old Adam goes to sleep and the new Adam wakes up and starts fresh.

    The important thing is not the when or how, but that people do examine themselves, repent, and amend their lives on a regular basis.

  • bess
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Sometimes I just pray to God Lord forgive me for such and such and sometimes I pray that He reveal to me character flaws so He can help me change. For me it is all about changing my mind and being open minded to criticism. Am I good at it? No but better than I used to be. I'm not the same person. Don't want to be. I want to morph into the proverbial butterfly. I think that it is good to confess to people though. But I have a 12 Step background as well. Having people tell you that you were wrong but they love you anyhow makes for some real gratitude attitude. I've learned that usually actions are symptoms of something bigger at the root and to look for those with the help of God. I don't take you to sarcastic I appreciate your curiosity and I frequently ask my best friend who is Catholic similar questions. She was very instrumental in my seeking of God. She is mighty in Spirit and has all the fruits of the Spirit in abundance. I like your guys confession thing though but I don't understand the penance thing.

  • 1 decade ago

    I always thought the same thing as you until I went to a Pentecostal church and found out that the Bible says we can go directly to the Father because Jesus intercedes for us. What I do is have what I call my quiet time once a day and that's when I confess my sin directly to God. But if I realize that I've sinned after that, I don't wait until the next day's quiet time, I confess it immediately. Hope it helps explain what we non-catholic Christians do. God bless you as you seek Him

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Confessions are done either at the church or at home. Some people feel that it is important to go to church and take their sins and to the alter, knowing that they will be forgiven, so long as their heart is sincere in asking for forgiveness. Others will do it in the comfort of their own homes, cars, or where ever conviction sets in.

    Whether you are Catholic or Protestant, the main thing is to be sincere when asking for forgiveness, otherwise it is words without remorse. This leads to hypocrisy and illustrates the misunderstanding of one's faith in God. Nothing will change without first having a sincere heart.

  • 1 decade ago

    We all confess Catholic, babtist, etc. Community confession is the most common and done since the 1st century. Confession to God of one's "Trespasses" is as old as the Lord's Prayer. :-)

    All Christians confess. the style is different, the God is the same, the Mercy is the same, the forgiveness is the same. Confession and forgiveness through Earnest prayer. God forgives, not the Priest or Minister......

  • 1 decade ago

    As a Christian I can say that confession and repentence are to different things according to the Bible. God not only tells us to confess our sins but to also repent of our sins. Which means to turn away from them. Which is really a heart issue in the end. You can confess all you want, but until you repent in your heart, confessing doesn't really help any.

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