If you sin or do something wrong, there is no way you're going to be completely free of it UNTIL you are willing to recognize the atonement principle.
You could've done something many years ago or even when you were a child, which you believed was a big mistake. Maybe you were punished for it. Maybe you felt guilty about it. Maybe you hurt someone or broke something or committed a crime.
What you will then do, as an act of TRYING to heal, is to explain to yourself in various ways "why it was ok". Maybe it was because the person did something to you in a past life. Maybe it was karma. Maybe it was just an accident. Maybe you didn't really mean it. Maybe you didn't know what you were doing because you were too young. Maybe you wouldn't do it again. Maybe you were young and naive. Whatever. These are justifications which do not HEAL you.
None of these will FREE YOU from having that event stuck in your mind, remaining not quite healed.
If you in any way believe that you ACTUALLY DID IT, then you stand accused of sin.
If you believe the events actually DID HAPPEN, then you stand accused of sin.
If you believe you did cause and produce REAL CONSEQUENCES IN REALITY, then you stand accused of sin.
That alone is enough to KEEP the sin real somewhere in your mind, leaving you always feeling guilty and always unable to truly LET IT GO no matter how hard you try.
The only thing which will SET YOU FREE is the truth. The truth is the atonement. The atonement, which is also an act of complete forgiveness, looks upon you and RECOGNIZES that what you THINK you did, was not happening in reality, it was entirely an illusion, nothing real has been threatened, and nothing unreal exists.
That means you have to undo all of your belief in fear that arose from the event (fear of being punished for it), all guilt from the event (guilty because you did it and don't deserve forgiveness), all sin from the event (that it happened at all and you did attack in reality)... AND THEN you will be WILLING and ABLE to ACCEPT that you actually DID NOT SIN. There is no real sin.
Acceptance of atonement is a state of mind where you actually can SEE and recognize illusions for what they are. You don't BELIEVE in them. You don't fall for their tricks. You know and what you thought you did, did not really occur in reality, nothing real has been hurt and your innocence therefore has not been REALLY challenged.
Until you can see that your innocence has not changed whatsoever in God's eyes, because whatever you "did" DID NOT HAPPEN in reality, but only in A DREAM, only then will you LET YOURSELF OFF THE HOOK and forgive yourself for what you THINK you did.
When you accept this, you will finally feel the RELIEF that you have been longing for all these years. You will finally be WILLING to let go, because you will be WILLING to ACCEPT that you DESERVE to be forgiven - since you did not really do anything. Being able to see this and accept it is extremely, profoundly freeing and healing. FINALLY you can let go of what you think you did wrong, because you did not really do it.
The atonement would seem to be complete nonsense to people who believe the world is real or that sins really happen or that people really get hurt or that consequences are real. It can make no sense to anyone who thinks that EVENTS are really happening in the world. Just the mere act of something occurring in this world IS SIN, if it is real. Even picking your nose inside a dream is an idea of sin. Even kissing someone on the cheek is an idea of sin. Anything you DO in a DREAM, where that dream is entirely an IDEA OF WHAT SIN IS LIKE (the body is an idea of sin made real and projected outward), is a sin.
The atonement LITERALLY means, that what you think you DID DO, whatever event you think occurred, it was only ever in a DREAM, not in reality. This entire world is a dream. This whole universe is a dream. It is not really happening in reality and it is NOT REALITY. So it is literally POSSIBLE to UNDO THE PAST ENTIRELY, which dream-believers will say is impossible, because NOTHING HAPPENED. It was not reality in which it happened, it did not happen to anything real, and nothing real came from it.
This whole physical universe hasn't happened.
To recognize this is the atonement. To finally realize, wait a minute, this is all just a huge dream we're having. It's not real. It's not happening at all. Nothing I thought happened in it was real. It was all fake. The sin was fake, the effects were fake, the deaths were fake, nothing was real. It was just a nightmare.
"Forgiveness... sees there was no sin, and in that view, are all your sins forgiven."
Finally then when you can accept atonement on an issue, it really does mean setting yourself FREE, the ONLY WAY to be free, and that is truly healing. You can be 100% free of your sin and guilt FOREVER. Thank God for that!