When we are sick, we need a doctor. However, even when we are sick, we can be stubborn and refuse to go to the doctor. The doctor waits for you or may not even know that you are sick, while you suffer in your sins and pains. This is similar to the situation at hand.
In other words, we need confession to unload the burden of our sins and mistakes. Sometimes we have such a need that we confide in someone. We tell a friend or acquaintance what weighs us down. The person listens to us, maybe comforts us or encourages us with a word, but we still remain the same, with this burden hanging over us.
However, if you confide in a spiritual father your burden, besides listening to you and advising you, he absolves you, which means he lifts the sins from you and destroys the burden. And it is not he who does it, for we do not have this power, but Christ, who is present, who is there during every confession, next to every person who confesses. He forgives, blesses, and lightens this burden.
Indeed, if someone does not confess, it is to their own detriment. They remain burdened, and these burdens make their heart hardened towards prayer. They are highly susceptible to falling into various entanglements and temptations in their life, and they can no longer think of God’s gifts; they do not recognize them, and there is no place for them within. Therefore, the need for a spiritual father arises, to be able to help and guide us towards this gateway through which we can establish a connection with our Heavenly Father. The spiritual father, through the grace of priesthood, absolves us of our sins and enables us to approach the essence of life, which is God.
Excerpt from Humility and Love, the Qualities of Orthodox Experience – Father Sofian, Doxologia Publishing House.