Does that [ie. the confession of sins] sound very gloomy? 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 sin 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 serious 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.
The General Confession, which is said both at Morning and Evening Prayer:
Almighty and most merciful Father, We have erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep, We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts, We have offended against thy holy laws, We have left undone those things which we ought to have done, And we have done those things which we ought not to have done, And there is no health in us But thou, 0 Lord, have mercy upon us miserable offenders; Spare thou them, 0 God, which confess their faults, Restore thou them that are penitent, According to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord: And grant. 0 most merciful Father, for his sake. That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen. [The Anglican Book of Common Prayer]
C.S. Lewis, "Miserable Offenders," God in the Dock (Eerdmans, 1970) 120-121.