Chazal point out that we Jews go into The Judgement Day of Rosh Hashana dressed in our finest clothing, our table filled with delicious food. In stark contrast, when one is about to be tried in Criminal Court, he’s nervous and certainly does not feel like partaking in any Holiday spirit.
Here is the reason.
The courtroom is packed as the long awaited trial is set to begin. You are the defendant, at the mercy of a random jury and under the merciless verbal attack of the smooth prosecuter.
Now imagine for a moment that you look across the courtroom and see that the prosecuter is none other than yourself, and then you glance over at the jury box and see 12 clones of you seated.
Although the room is sternly presided over by the no nonsense judge you happen to know your law and you know just what to do to get yourself acquited.
The Rambam in Hilchos Teshuva says.
1) If one transgressed any commandment of the Torah, whether a positive or a negative one, whether deliberately or accidentally, then when one repents one has to confess verbally to God, for it is written, "When a man or a woman commits any sin that people commit...then they shall confess their sin which they have done". This means verbal confession, which is commanded positively to do, and is performed by saying, `O Lord, I have sinned, transgressed and rebelled before You, and have done such- and-such, and I am ashamed by my actions and will never do it again'. This is the main part of verbal confession, and expanding on it is praiseworthy. A sin- or guilt-offering when brought because of sins committed either deliberately or accidentally are of no effect unless the person bringing it repents and confesses verbally, for it is written, "...that he shall confess that he has sinned in that matter". Similarly, capital and corporal punishment do not atone unless the recipient repents and confesses verbally. Likewise, if one does financial damage to someone one is not forgiven unless one repents and resolves never to do it again, even if one paid back the money, for it is written, "...any sin that people commit".
3) In this day and age we have only repentance, for we don't have the Temple and Altar. This repentance [that we have to do nowadays] can atone for all sins. Even a person who was wicked throughout his life but at the end repented does not have any of his wickedness remembered, as it is written, "...as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not stumble because in the end he turned from his wickedness". The very aspect of the Day of Atonement atones for penitents, for it is written, "For on that day He will forgive you".
You see, divine justice works very differently than human justice. There are no external prosecutors or juries judging us. We are essentially judging ourselves for the damage we have caused ourselves and the world.
So why are we afraid to? Why is it so difficult?
1.We don’t truly believe that this is true. The yetzer hora knows how to pull us down and make us feel so depressed about what we’ve done. This makes it very difficult to believe that we have the power to be a Tzaddik with one change of heart. With one genuine
undertaking to truly turn from the past.
2. We’ve become so attached to our sinning ways, a part of us doesn’t want to let go.
So at the end of the day it truly is The State of Yourself vs. You. Your self perception standing in the way of true change.