When we come to confess our sins there is another temptation lurking there for us, and waiting to snare us. We are commanded by Scripture, in numerous places, to confess our sins. So this means if we are to be obedient children of our heavenly Father that we ought to do so. Nevertheless, we must remember what the goal of our confession is, and this is the temptation that awaits us: forgetting that goal.
We do well to feel the shame of our sins, and so we set aside times and occasions to repent and confess our sins. But the notion often creeps in that unless I get the right decimal place, the correct word order, the perfect frame of mind, or am not holding my tongue the right way that my confession won’t get the job done. This is simply a variety of self-righteousness. It is relying on me getting it right, in order to please God.
As we mature as believers, our repentance and confession also matures. In this sanctifying work, God–through His Spirit–brings us to see that repentance is in one sense very specific (i.e. the precise sin which was committed). At the same time, we learn to recognize that our repentance itself is often the very thing we should be repenting for, because it is imperfect, all too often self-preserving, and tainted by pride.
When we confess our sins, we must ever be mindful that repenting and confessing sin is not a ceremonial routine intended to make us feel like we did spiritual things. Rather, it is intended to bring us to more fully see and adore Christ, our Advocate before the Father. We confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins. Notice here the focus is not on me getting the right method down, but on the sure & certain perfection of Christ and the forgiveness he gives.
Christian confession & repentance must not stand on any other ground but that of the perfect righteousness of Christ. Your confidence is never upon what you do, it is in what Christ has done.