The Scripture -- particularly the Gospels -- are filled with moments where the merciful love of God is made evident in the lives of believers. In the ministry of Jesus which we read in the Gospels, every instance of the imparting of forgiveness happens in a personal encounter between Lord Himself and the one who has come to recognize his or her sin.
For this reason, in the Catholic tradition we receive God's absolution of our sins in the Sacrament of Penance (Reconciliation), celebrated in person with a priest. In that sacramental encounter God brings us face to face with the truth about ourselves and, through the ministry of the priest, helps us to begin anew and to build an enriched and deeper life on the basis of the new self-awareness He has given us through His Spirit. Through the ministry of the priest, the Lord Himself helps us not only to identify and name our sins but also to embrace a plan for atoning for those sins and living beyond them when the Sacrament has freed us.
There are few gifts in life as liberating as hearing God use the voice of his priest to tell us what he told the sinful woman brought to Him in the Gospels: "Neither do I condemn you. From now on, go and do not sin anymore." (John 8:11)