The Ten Commandments
I am the Lord your God, and you shall have no other gods before me.
Has God been the source, center and hope of my life? Have I put myself, others or things before God? Have I failed to trust in God's existence, love and mercy? Have I failed to pray to God, to worship Him and to thank Him for His blessings? Have I tried to serve God and keep His commandments faithfully? Have I murmured or complained against God in adversity? Have I praised and glorified God through my words and deeds?
You shall not make for yourself a graven image in order to worship it.
Have I valued anyone or anything above God? Have I given to anyone or anything the love, honor and worship that belongs to God alone? Have I made an idol of any person, idea, occupation, or thing?
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
Have I blasphemed God's holy name in any way? Have I sworn a false oath? Have I broken any solemn vow or promise? Have I entered into an agreement, promise or contract against God's law? Have I cursed or used foul language?
Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
Have I worshiped regularly on Sundays and major feast days and have I helped others to do the same? Have I worked unnecessarily on Sundays or major feast days or caused others to do so? Have I spent the Lord's Day in a wholesome and edifying ways?
Honor your father and mother.
Have I loved and respected my parents as I should? Have I neglected them or failed to help them? Have I disobeyed them, deceived them or caused them pain by my words or deeds? Have I treated all my family members with patience and love? If my parents are deceased have I prayed for their souls? Have I made an offering to the Church on my parents behalf, when it prays for the souls of the departed?
Thou shall not kill.
Have I caused the harm, injury or death of anyone? Have I wished my own or anyone's harm or death? Have I been cruel to animals or destroyed any life unnecessarily? Have I led someone astray from the proper path and tempted them to sin?
You shall not commit adultery.
Have I committed any impure acts alone or with others? Have I caused others to commit impure acts? Have I committed impure acts in my heart and defiled myself by giving in to impure and lewd thoughts and desires?
You shall not steal.
Have I taken anything that was not mine from anyone or from anywhere? Have I cheated anyone? Have I caused others to steal or cheat? Have I tried to find the owners of lost things I have found? Have I damaged or destroyed anything that belonged to another? Have I defrauded anyone of rightful wages? Have I paid my debts? Have I given to the church, or to the poor in proportion to my means?
You shall not bear false witness.
Have I given false testimony against anyone? Have I spoken evil, told lies or spread rumors about anyone? Have I disclosed to anyone the sins and faults of another? Have I made careless statements or done anything else to harm the name and reputation of another? Have I engaged in idle gossip?
You shall not covet.
Have I looked with envy, jealousy or hatred toward the possession talents or achievements of others? Have I desired the downfall or loss of others out of evil intent that I might benefit? Have I grieved that God has bestowed greater blessings on others than me?
The Lord Jesus Christ introduces the kind of life those who seek the Kingdom of God must lead.
Mathew 5 (3-12)
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Have I truly recognized my complete dependence on God? Have I been proud, arrogant and self-righteous in my ways? Have I been selfish, possessive and self- seeking? Have I sought after status power and wealth?
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Have I endured difficulties and afflictions with faith and patience? Have I felt sadness for the sufferings of the poor, the hungry, and addicted; the sick, the lonely and the sinful of the world? Have I truly been sorrowful for my sins and faults?
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Have I chosen to serve or dominate others at home, school, work, office, Church or elsewhere? Have I been resentful, bitter, unforgiving, insulting or abusive to others?
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Have I truly yearned for God's will to be done in all things? Have I worked for justice in my family, society and the world in ways within my reach? Have I tried to cultivate a righteous life through prayer, fasting, worship, receiving Holy Communion and deeds of love toward others?
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Have I shown compassion and help toward the poor, hungry, lonely and needy around me? Have I tried to understand and forgive others
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Have I loved goodness, purity and holiness? Have I succumbed to evil motives and intentions? Have I given way to impure thoughts, words or deeds? Have I been guilty of bias and prejudice: Have I been hypocritical, pretentious or self=indulgent sinful passions?
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Do I have God's peace in my heart? Have I been unfairly angry, aggressive or impatient? Have I worked for peace at home, work, Church and in society?
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Have I complained when persecuted for God's sake? Have I prayed for my persecutors? Have I failed to defend anyone in the truth for fear of humiliation or persecution? Have I had the courage to stand up for what is right despite criticism, ridicule or persecution.
Blessed are you when they revile you and persecute you on my account; rejoice and be glad,
for great is your reward in heaven.
Is the joy of Christ in my heart even in trying moments? Have I been pessimistic despondent or despairing?
Further in depth examination that can help you with your confession list
You and God
Do you believe in God, the Holy Trinity, and in the divinity of Christ? Do you respect the Holy Virgin Mary, the Saints, and the Angels? Do you believe in the Church and its Mysteries (Sacraments)? Do you believe that Heaven and Hell exist?
- Do you trust yourself always, and especially during the difficult times of your life, to the care and Providence of God? Or do you despair and show a lack of faith?
- Perhaps in the problems, afflictions, sicknesses, and trials of your life you moan and complain against God and lose your faith and confidence?
- Do you believe in mediums, fortune-telling, tarot card reading, heretical books not recognized by the Church? Do you tell other people to believe in such things?
- Do you pray morning and evening and before and after each meal? Are you embarrassed to make the sign of the cross in the presence of others, for example, in a restaurant or outside a holy church when you are passing by? Do you not make your cross properly?
- Do you read the Holy Bible as well as other Orthodox spiritual books daily?
- Do you go to church on Sundays and on the major Feast Days?
- Do you follow the Divine Liturgy carefully and reverently from the start until the end, or do you go late and leave before the end? Do you let your mind wander in church?
- Do you go to church dressed in a proper and dignified way? Are you careful not to laugh, or talk even if it is a Wedding or Baptismal service?
- Do you perhaps prevent or restrict your spouse or children from going to church? Or do you tell your acquaintances not to go to church?
- Do you commune regularly or at least once a year, and then without Holy Confession?
- Do you give oaths without need or, if so, lie as well? Did you perhaps not fulfill your oath, vow, or promise? The Bible forbids oaths completely, saying that our “yes” be “yes” and our “no” be “no” (St Matthew 5:7).
- Do you blaspheme the Name of God, the Virgin Mary, and our Saints by speaking irreverently of them, disrespecting the Holy Cross and the Holy Icons?
- Do you fast on Wednesdays and Fridays and during the appointed periods of the year?
- Do you put religious books or Holy things such as Icons, Prosphora, Holy Water, etc.. in unclean places?
- While unclean, have you approached the Holy Cross/Gospel or anything that is Holy?
You and Others
- Do you have hatred and ill-feelings towards someone who did you wrong or insulted you in their anger?
- Are you suspicious and do you without reason suspect that everyone supposedly talks about you, that they don’t want you, and that they don’t love or like you?
- Are you jealous and upset over the progress, fortune, possessions and beauty of others?
- Are you unmoved by the misfortune and needs of your fellow men?
- In your transactions with your business partners, co-workers, and clients, are you honest and forthright?
- Have you criticized or slandered your fellow man, wrongly accusing them?
- Are you sarcastic and patronizing towards believers, or towards those who fast and endeavor to live a Christian life, or towards those who have physical/mental problems and/or disabilities?
- If you heard some information or criticism against someone, did you pass it on to others and harm (even unwillingly) their reputation and respect?
- Did you criticize the conduct, actions, faults, and mistakes of another person when they were not present, even if what you said was the truth? Have you ever criticized the clergy? Do you gossip about and criticize the personal lives of others? Did you listen to someone blaspheming God or a holy person, and not protest?
- Do you curse those who have harmed you, or curse yourself in difficult moments of your life?
- Do you respect your parents? Do you look after them? Do you put up with their elderly weaknesses? Do you help them with their bodily and spiritual needs? Are you mindful of their spiritual needs by making sure they go to church and partake worthily of Holy Communion? Have you abandoned them?
- Perhaps in your anger did you hit anyone with your hands or injure them with your words?
- Do you perform your job or occupation properly and with a good conscience? Or are you unfair to others?
- Do you steal? Perhaps you have encouraged or helped another person to steal? Have you agreed to cover up a theft? Have you bought or accepted goods known to be stolen?
- Are you ungrateful towards God and generally towards your helpers and beneficiaries?
- Do you keep company with bad and sinful people or associates? With your words or example, have you ever pushed anyone to sin?
- Have you ever committed forgery? Have you ever embezzled or defrauded anyone? Have you borrowed money and/or other possessions and without returning or repaying them?
- Have you ever committed murder, in any way (even with words)?
- Do you entangle yourself in the lives of others or in their work or their families and become the cause of strife, quarrels and disturbances?
- Do you have mercy and compassion on the poor, on orphans, on the elderly, on large families with many children struggling to make ends meet?
- Have you lied or added or subtracted from the truth? Do you flatter others in order to get your own way?
- Have you ever sent or posted on the internet an anonymous or cruel letter about anyone?
- Have you concealed sins at confession or perhaps failed to confess sincerely and truthfully? Have you lied during confession?
- Have you not prayed your penance that was given by the priest during your confessions?
- Have you robbed God by not offering a tithe or a certain percentage of your income? (Malachi 3:8)
- Do you shave your beard (man) or cut your hair (woman)? Do you always cover your hair as a married woman (even at work, school, church group meetings, etc...)?
- Are you greedy or a lover of money?
- Are you stingy?
- Are you wasteful? Do you live by the Gospels teaching that whatever you have is from God? Do you have too much love towards pets and waste money on them while people are dying of starvation?
- Are you conceited and arrogant? Do you talk back to your elders and superiors?
- Do you like to show off with your clothing, wealth, fortunes, and the academic achievements of your children or of yourself?
- Do you seek attention and glory from people? Do you wear perfume, make-up, and change the appearance that your Creator gave to you?
- Do you accept compliments and praise from others with joy?
- Do you get upset when others reveal your faults and do you get offended when others examine you and when your elders make comments about you? Do you get angry?
- Are you perhaps stubborn, high-minded, egotistical, proud, or cowardly? Be careful with these sins, as the diagnosis and solution to them are difficult.
- Do you gamble or play cards, even without money, with relatives and people at home to “kill time” as the saying goes?
- Do you waste your time by playing video games, playing on your phone or watch to much television just because your bored? Are you addicted to them (think about this one)?
- Have sexual sins polluted your body, mind, or soul? For example, have you engaged in fornication (sexual intercourse before marriage), or masturbation, prostitution, homosexuality, lesbianism, etc.?
- Do you watch shows on TV that have immoral behavior, murder, scandal, adultery, evil spirits, scary movies, etc... that are very harmful to the Orthodox Spiritual Life?
- Do you read pornographic, immoral books and magazines?
- Have you ever considered committing suicide?
- Are you a slave to your stomach (i.e. gluttony)?
- Are you lazy, careless and negligent? Do you not help out when you can?
- Do you say improper, dirty, and immoral words or use swear words for the sake of humor or to insult or humiliate others?
- Do you have a spirit of self-denial?
- Do you expel from your mind bad or sly thoughts that come to pollute your heart?
- Are you careful so that your eyes don’t gaze or stare at provocative pictures or people? Do you go to the movies and theatres?
- Are you careful what your ears hear? Do you like to hear sinful music and conversations?
- Do you dress immorally? If you are a woman, do you wear men’s clothing (e.g. pants), or short skirts, open shirts; transparent shirts, and scandalize others with your appearance? In addition, do you dress in this way when appearing at holy places? If you are a man, do you dress provocatively?
- Have you appeared naked in public or semi-naked in a swimsuit or bikini publicly?
- Do you dance in a provocative and sinful manner? Do you listen to sinful immoral songs? Do you frequent parties, nightclubs, and bars? Do you celebrate sinful, worldly festivals such as mardigras, gay and lesbian festivals, halloween etc.?
- Are you an alcoholic? Do you abuse alcohol?
- Do you smoke cigarettes, marijuana? Do you abuse or are addicted to drugs such as cocaine, crystal meth, heroin, or any pharmaceutical drugs?
- Do you talk excessively about meaningless things?
For Married Couples
- Do you remain faithful to each other?
- Did one of you embarrass or criticize the other publicly or privately?
- Do you not endure the apparent weakness of the other? Do you show harshness?
- Do you or your partner permit the other to follow the latest fashion and trend and anything which is opposed to the law of God? Do you perhaps drag the other along to parties on the condition that you will in this way provide the other the means to follow fashion and a worldly life?
- Do you take into consideration the struggle the other has outside and inside the home, so that you both help each other bodily and spiritually in the struggle?
- As a partner, have you had excessive sexual demands and degraded your relationship?
- Do you abstain from sexual relations on Wednesdays, Fridays, Sundays, Feast Days, (including the night before) and on the days of the Holy Fasts of the Church?Do you perhaps prevent your partner from going to church, spiritual gatherings and talks?Do you bring up your children “in the instruction and counsel of Christ”? Do you put their education first and God second?
- Do you direct your children to go to church regularly, to go to confession, to frequently partake of Holy Communion (properly prepared), and to go to Sunday school? Do you teach holy virtues by word and example? Have you taught them to pray in the morning, evening and before and after at each meal? Have you taught them to pray with respect and reverence?
- Are you careful of the things they read?
- Do you watch with whom they keep company and who their friends are?
- Do you lead them to sinful shows and entertainment or allow them to watch television or internet unsupervised?
- Do you teach them humility and meekness and are you careful that they dress in a dignified way?
- Do you curse them when they upset you?
- Have you had abortions or do you prevent yourself from having children (i.e. contraception)?
- Do you as a parent believe that the responsibility of raising and educating your children rests only with your partner? You have an obligation to educate them and to read to them so that you can relieve you partner.
- Do you scorn your children by giving them insulting hand gestures and reprimand them with improper language?
- Do you interfere in your children’s lives or get to involved (needlessly) to cause major disagreements or disputes?
- Is your partner a blasphemer? Have patience, and try hard to eliminate cursed blasphemy!
- Have you ever considered divorcing your partner?
- Do you allow your children to become fanatical about sports and even miss church in order to play (e.g. Sunday morning games)?
- Are you fair and just with your family?