What is repentance? And how is it different from Confession?
As sin is separation from God, repentance then is returning to God.* God says“: Return to me, and I will return
to you” (Mal 3:7). When the prodigal son repented, he returned to his father (Luke 15:18-20). True repentance is a human longing to the origin from which it was taken. It is the desire of a heart that stayed away from God, and felt that it cannot go any further away. (HH Pope Shenouda’s the Life of Repentance and Purity)
While Repentance is the desire and lamenting, yearning and prayer, confession is the specific act in this process of speaking out your sins for forgiveness to yourself (realizing your sin), to God (in prayer), to your father of confession to witness, advise, absolve, give penance, and intercede. All three steps are crucial parts of the process of repentance. Yes, repentance is a process. Our desire to be healed leads it and our heavenly Father is waiting for us to accept healing with open arms.
Further, in the sacrament of Confession the repentant opens his heart and is comforted from his suppressed secrets in front of God he presents all of his weaknesses and falling in the presence of the priest, in order to receive absolution from God from the mouth of the priest. This is through the command of authority, in which the Lord said“: If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20:23).