In the portion of Bechukotai, we read that the Jewish people will confess their iniquity and their fathers’ iniquity (Leviticus 26:39). In the next verse, G‑d promises that He will bring them into the land of their enemies (Leviticus 26:40). It would seem that after we admit our wrongdoings, Hashem would take us to the Promised Land.

What is the purpose of taking us to the land of our enemies, especially, when in the narrative, we are already in the land of our enemies (see verse 39)? What good does admitting our mistakes do for us? How can we apply this to our lives?

These verses come towards the end of a section filled with the consequences for not keeping the Torah and mitzvahs. We refuse because of our stubbornness—by not willing to open our hearts to accept G‑d’s Torah and mitzvahs wholeheartedly and of our own will. It is only as a result of suffering that we admit our wrongdoing. But that is not a wholehearted confession, and this kind of confession does not grant forgiveness. Yet the Torah calls it a confession, so it must have some value.

Speech is powerful. The words we say have an effect on the people who hear them, as well as on the one speaking them. When confessing wrongdoing and committing to do better, it helps to say the words out loud, as your words will add strength to your commitment. Also, when one recognizes that he has sinned, putting what he has done to words may even cause him to regret what he did. Even in our case, when the admission is half-hearted, it still has some good effect. It brings you the next step.

G‑d says, “ ... and I will bring them into the land of their enemies.” The key words here are: “and I will bring them.” It means that now G‑d is taking a more involved stance. As Rashi explains, this is a good thing because it holds the promise that G‑d will send his prophets to bring the people closer to Him. With the help of the prophets, we can arrive at true remorse and forgiveness.

This all came to pass during the Babylonian Exile, bringing us back to the Land of Israel for the Second Temple Era. However, before Moshiach comes, the Rambam writes that we will repent and immediately be redeemed. This is because we will return to G‑d from our own free will and not because the pressure of the exile.

This is also true in our relationships. When you do something wrong, the best thing is to admit your wrongdoing, commit to change and ask for forgiveness. But for some, this pill may be too hard to swallow. This is when admitting that it wasn’t worth it (even if not admitting that the action itself was wrong) becomes a stepping stone to rebuilding the relationship. Working on it gets you closer to the person you wronged, and hopefully, will also earn you forgiveness.