Repenting can be painful. Self-deception is always easier than staring the undisguised, unexcused ugliness of your sin in the face, completely owning up to it, genuinely hating it, and actually turning from it. But C.S. Lewis helped me see to today how the alternative is much more painful in the long run:
“Does Christianity encourage morbid introspection? The alternative is much more morbid. Those who do not think about their own sins make up for it by thinking incessantly about the sins of others. It is healthier to think of one’s own. It is the reverse of morbid. It is not even, in the long run, very gloomy. A series attempt to repent and really to know one’s own sins is in the long run a lightening and relieving process. Of course, there is bound to be a first dismay and often terror and later great pain, yet that is much less in the long run than the anguish of a mass of unrepented and unexamined sins, lurking in the background of our minds. It is the difference between the pain of the tooth about which you should go to the dentist, and the simple straight-forward pain which you know is getting less and less every moment when you have had the tooth out.”
C.S. Lewis, “Miserable Offenders,” published in God in the Dock, in The Collected Works of C.S. Lewis (Eerdmans, 1996), p. 384.