[…] As far as Jesus is concerned, all real confession – all confession that is not just a fudging of our tattered books but a plain admission that our books are not worth even a damn – is subsequent to forgiveness. Only when, like the prodigal, we are finally confronted with the unqualified gift of someone who died, in advance, to forgive us no matter what, can we see that confession has nothing to do with getting ourselves forgiven. Confession is not a transaction, not a negotiation in order to secure forgiveness; it is the after-the-last gasp of a corpse that finally can afford to admit it’s dead and accept resurrection. Forgiveness surrounds us, beats upon us all our lives; we confess only to wake ourselves up to what we already have.

— Robert Farrar Capon, The Parables of Grace