Form for Self-examination before Confession
THE FIRST COMMANDMENT
You shall have no other gods.
What does this mean? We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.
My God is that which I love, trust, and fear most in my life. I expect my comfort, good, and delight from God.
Have I loved, trusted, or feared other things or people more than I love, trust, and fear God?
Have I committed idolatry by seeking comfort, good, and delight from my own efforts rather than from God?
Do I look to God my heavenly Father for all love, good, and joy?
Is everything measured by what pleases me?
In all things am I self-centered and selfish?
Have I patiently borne the afflictions God sends me?
Have I doubted whether human affairs are ruled by God's counsel?
Have I been angry that the wicked seem to enjoy a better lot than the pious and that the pious are often oppressed?
Do I see my worry and fretting as sin against trusting in God?
On what things is my attention focused?
Do I complain about the troubles, people, work and suffering God lays on me?
Do I love the things God gives more than I love Him?
Do I cling to what God takes away, even though He gives me Himself?
THE SECOND COMMANDMENT
You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.
My God has placed His name upon me in Holy Baptism and made me His dearly beloved child through my Lord Jesus Christ. In His name He has revealed Himself to me as the God of love that I might worship Him.
Have I cursed?
Have I used God's name cheaply for oaths that are frivolous or false?
Do I stand up and swear by God's name when it is for the truth of the Gospel or the benefit of my neighbor in need?
Have I doubted whether God hears my prayer?
Do I seek my own glory or God's glory?
Do I pray with fervor in times of trouble?
Am I bored and indifferent in prayer?
Am I unable to speak about God truly because I am bored with His Word and have neglected study of the catechism and doctrine?
Is my heart in the praise I speak with my lips?
Do I speak praise with my lips?
Am I thankful for the blessings God showers on me?
Do I use my lips to complain?
THE THIRD COMMANDMENT
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.
My God has given me His Word so that I might know Him and believe in Him. His Word makes me holy. It gives me eternal life and rest from all my enemies.
Do I strive to make the day of rest holy by making time for the hearing of God's Word and the reception of the Sacrament?
Do I care about holy living?
Have I put the desires of my body ahead of the needs of my soul?
Do I use the Word of God to make my time, work, study, and life holy day by day?
Have I doubted the truth of God's Word?
Am I lazy about reading and studying God's Word?
Have I any fear of God over this neglect?
Do I honor the Word of God highly by eagerly hearing it preached at the appointed times?
Do I gladly learn it by heart and live in it?
Do I despise God's Word by not paying attention when it is read, preached on, or taught in Church?
Do I love my fellow Christians by being present with them in the divine liturgy to sustain them?
Am I quick to make excuses for neglecting the divine liturgy to do other things I like more?
Have I absented myself from the divine liturgy because I was angry at someone else who was there?
Do I complain about the worship, the pastor, or other people in the congregation?
Do I learn the Word of God gladly so that I can teach it to others?
THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT
Honor your father and your mother.
What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities, but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them.
My God has given me my father and mother through whom I received life from Him. He has placed them and all temporal authority over me for my good and for the benefit of my neighbor.
Has the fear and love of God shaped my honor and obedience to parents and others in authority over me?
Have I trusted God to bless me in my life and make my life good when I submit to the authority of parents and those over me?
Have I been angry with them, rebelling and fighting with them, because I was not getting what I wanted?
Have I talked back to those in authority over me?
Have I disobeyed their commands or obeyed them only with complaining?
Have I been disrespectful and sullen to my parents, teachers, employers, or other authorities over me?
Have I been on good behavior in their presence while mocking them or disobeying them when they are absent, pretending that God does not see this rebellion?
Have I prayed for my parents, my pastor, my schools, my government?
Do I grumble about work that is given me to do?
THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT
You shall not murder.
What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but help and support him in every physical need.
My God has given me and all people life. Our life is holy because God created us in His image to receive what He gives and to reflect His love to one another.
Have I treated my neighbor's body and life as gifts God has given to him?
Have I injured my neighbor with violent actions, hitting and beating my neighbor?
Have I spoken debasing and insulting words to my neighbor?
Have I used foul or dirty words to describe my neighbor?
Have I murdered him in my heart with thoughts of anger, contempt, and hatred?
Have I injured my neighbor by ridicule?
Have I neglected to feed, clothe and care for my neighbor in his need?
Have I avoided giving help to my neighbor?
Do I abuse my own body with excessive use of food, drink, alcohol or drugs?
Have I been tempted to commit suicide as though my life were my own to end?
Have I aborted a baby or approved of the practice of abortion?
THE SIXTH COMMANDMENT
You shall not commit adultery.
What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we live a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do, and husband and wife love and honor each other.
My God has given me the gift of sexuality that I might love and honor my spouse selflessly and for the procreation of children.
Have I used for my own pleasure my ears to hear stories that incite cravings of the body for one who is not my spouse?
Have I used my mouth to tell such stories?
Have I indulged my eyes with longing for my sexual satisfaction from a man or woman who is not my spouse?
Have I dishonored marriage by ridicule, divorce, or neglecting to encourage others to be faithful to their spouses in the fear of God?
Have I had sexual intercourse with a man or woman not my spouse?
Have I dishonored my spouse by neglecting to care for my spouse's body, mind, feelings, and needs, withdrawing faithfulness from my spouse?
Have I failed to trust God to bless us in our marriage, even in times of trouble?
Have I neglected to pray for my spouse, to attend the divine liturgy together, and to live in the fear and love of God in times of sexual temptation?
Have I used pornography?
Have I engaged in homosexual thoughts, word, or deeds, or given approval to homosexual activity?
Have I given approval to those who live together apart from marriage?
THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT
You shall not steal.
What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not take our neighbor's money or possessions, or get them in any dishonest way, but help him to improve and protect his possessions and income.
My God has given me my property and goods that I might serve my family and neighbor with His gifts.
Have I been lazy at work, doing poor work in school or at my job, or working only when the teacher or boss is around?
Have I been stingy in paying my workers?
Have I been greedy, demanding best pay for poor work?
Have I worked for myself rather than for Christ and for the benefit of my neighbor?
Have I cared for property in the neighborhood, church, and school so that it is improved?
Have I stolen from office, school, church, or from my neighbor?
Have I stood by silently while others took what was not theirs?
Have I stolen information from another's work?
Have I wasted time, food, and money by my neglect?
Have I been stingy when it comes to giving to the Lord a generous portion as a thank offering for all He has given to me?
Have I stolen from my neighbor by not helping him in time of need?
THE EIGHTH COMMANDMENT
You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation; but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way.
My God has given me a good name and reputation that I might cover my neighbor's sins and short-comings with mercy, in order to preserve his name and reputation in the community.
Have I told the truth in court, or in school before authorities, or before my parents when I knew the truth?
Have I been afraid to bear witness when I knew the truth and it was necessary to speak up against a wrongdoer or to speak for a victim?
Have I told lies?
Have I passed on information my neighbor shared with me about himself in confidence?
Have I gossiped, delighting to tell others about the faults or mistakes of another, excusing myself especially by saying that I only spoke the truth?
Have I gone to others to make peace if I wronged them or they me?
Have I flattered others?
Have I put on a front to make others think differently of me than I am?
Have I slanted stories to my benefit or to deceive others by withholding some elements of the truth?
Have I found ways gladly and willingly to explain in the kindest way those words or actions of others that hurt me?
Have I defended my neighbor when he is criticized by others?
Have I learned to bear with faults and weaknesses of others, covering their shame?
THE NINTH COMMANDMENT
You shall not covet your neighbor's house.
What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not scheme to get our neighbor's inheritance or house, or get it in a way which only appears right, but help and be of service to him in keeping it.
My God has given me everything that I need and all that is good for me.
Have I longed for the honor, wealth, happy life, or what seems like the ease of others?
Has my life been full of craving for things that are not mine?
Have I been stingy or self-indulgent with my money, trying to keep up with what others have?
Have I tried by claims of various rights to make the property of others my own?
Do I have to keep wishing for and dreaming about things I don't have before I can work with a joyful heart?
Have I resented the blessings God has given to my neighbor?
Have I thought that happiness comes from owning things?
Have I been generous?
THE TENTH COMMANDMENT
You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not entice or force away our neighbor's wife, workers, or animals, or turn them against him, but urge them to stay and do their duty.
My God has given me Himself. He is my God. His will is good and gracious. In Him I am content.
Have I wanted my neighbor's spouse, his workers, or property to be mine?
Have I tried to win the affections and loyalties of my neighbor's spouse or children away from my neighbor to me?
Have I urged friends, spouses, and workers to go back to their callings, holding their marriages, friendships and work together?
Have I fostered discontent with the congregation, its pastors or leaders, and failed to urge members to stay and do their duty in the divine liturgy: praying, giving and serving?
CLOSE OF THE COMMANDMENTS
What does God say of all these commandments?
He says: I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
What does this mean? God threatens to punish all who break these commandments, therefore we should fear His wrath and not do anything against them. But He promises grace and mercy to all who keep these commandments, therefore we should also love and trust in Him and gladly do what He commands.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.