First of all you should know that one of Allah’s or God’s names -in Islam- is the all forgiving or most merciful!
Allah, our Creator, exactly know that we are human and that we are not infallible (read for example verses like 4:28, 17:83, 39:49, 41:49 42:27 and 89:15-16), and he is caring for us more than a mother as quoted in a hadith. Therefore he knows the malady and provides a remedy: repentance. So if you do sincere repentance from what you did Allah may forgive you.
How Allah expect us to be
In the last part of surat al-Furqan (25:63-77) Allah even discribes those people whom he calls the servants of the most merciful, showing off how they should be or act and how they shouldn’t be or act (so these verses are of the kind: do and do not)… I strongly suggest you to read and re-read this part as it is a gudiline for us in our interaction with our Creator. In this description you can read in (25:68)
And those who do not invoke with Allah another deity or kill the soul which Allah has forbidden , except by right, and do not commit unlawful sexual intercourse. And whoever should do that will meet a penalty.
so these people should not kill a soul Allah has forbidden to kill, and if you go to the next verse you may read about their punishment (in case that they went ahead doing these bad deeds) before comming back to those people he called the servants of the most merciful, the people i might call the people who have been guided by Allah to a good or correct behaviour in their life, and quoting them as an exception:
Except for those who repent, believe and do righteous work. For them Allah will replace their evil deeds with good. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful. (25:70)
so if one repents Allah sincerly Allah my turn his bad deeds into good deeds (for example, by guiding him do good deeds and turning him away from bad deeds).
Then the verses quote what happens if you repent:
And he who repents and does righteousness does indeed turn to Allah with repentance (25:71)
and later adding rewards to these kinds of people:
Those will be awarded the Chamber for what they patiently endured, and they will be received therein with greetings and peace. (25:75) Abiding eternally therein. Good is the settlement and residence. (25:76)
Allah accepts sincer repentance
About the mercy of Allah and his acceptance of repantance you can read many other verses (most of them have already been quoted therefore I just added the links) such us:
Surat at-Tawba (9:104) I would even suggest you to read more context like (9:102-105)
Surat az-Zummar (39:53)
Surat ash-Shura (42:25)
Verses 1 and 3 just tell as that Allah accept repentance (if it is sincere as explained above) while Verse 2 tells us don’t worry, be faithfull and believe in Allah’s mercy and forgivness!
Further in surat al-Baqara (2:222) you may read:
… Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves.
and also in surat Taha (20:82) you find:
But indeed, I am the Perpetual Forgiver of whoever repents and believes and does righteousness and then continues in guidance.
this means if you repent, if you left all the sins you committed Allah even would love you this means you shouldn’t have any haram relationship, but look for halal and do good deed, this means you should live or start a new life forgetting all the past (bad deeds) and leaving it behind.
A “Bonus” for those who convert
As you said you consider converting I wouldn’t quote what Islam says about former committed sins nor the scholars view on the sin that you feel terrible about, but I’d say Allah offers you a solution that might clear your past and let you live with a new white register of deeds (8:38) which is more explictly quoted in a long hadith from which I’ll emphasize the statement:
Are you not aware of the fact that Islam wipes out all the previous (misdeeds)?
So repent, leave the past and any bad deed you committed and find your way to God and he might forgive you and even love and reward you!
Maybe this fatwa is also helpful.
Pope Francis prays in front of the statue of the Immaculate Conceptionon at Spanish Steps on Dec. 8, 2013, in Rome, Italy.
Credit: Franco Origlia/Getty Images
The pope has extended the Catholic Church’s forgiveness for abortion indefinitely.
In an apostolic letter dated Nov. 20, Pope Francis officially changed the church practice so that it now allows any parish priest to hear confessions from those who have obtained or performed an abortion, and to offer absolution.
The move comes as the Year of Mercy, or the Extraordinary Jubilee, comes to a close. With roots in the Old Testament, every 50 years, a jubilee year was designated as a time of forgiveness, as a reminder of God’s mercy, according to Jewish tradition. The Catholic Church calls one every 25 years, and Pope Francis designated Dec. 8, 2015, to Nov. 20, 2016, as the Extraordinary Jubilee. During this time, the pope hoped followers would direct their attention “on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s action in our lives. For this reason I have proclaimed an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy as a special time for the Church, a time when the witness of believers might grow stronger and more effective,” he said in a Vatican statement.
In the new letter, Pope Francis restates Catholic doctrine that abortion is a grave sin that ends an innocent life.
“However, I can and must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father,” Pope Francis wrote in the letter.
The move is largely symbolic. According to previous church rules, because abortion was considered both a grave sin and a crime (in the church’s eyes), only a bishop or someone he assigned to the task could hear the confession of someone who wanted absolution for having an abortion. In practice, however, parish priests were already offering absolution in the United States for years, according to Crux.
However, as part of the Year of Mercy, which began in December of last year and ended Nov. 20, women who’d had an abortion could gain absolution, or forgiveness of their sin, by confessing to any priest. The extension of forgiveness also applies to anyone who is involved in abortion work, such as doctors or nurses who perform the procedure.
Original article on Live Science.
ROME – In a document concluding his jubilee Holy Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has extended indefinitely special permission for priests to forgive women and others involved in abortions, as well as permission for Catholics to receive forgiveness from members of a breakaway traditionalist body.
The pontiff also called for a day on the Catholic Church’s liturgical calendar that normally falls sometime in November to be observed as the “World Day of the Poor.”
“It would be a day to help communities and each of the baptized to reflect on how poverty is at the very heart of the Gospel, and that, as long as Lazarus lies at the door of our homes,” referring to a Gospel figure who was poor, “there can be no justice or social peace.”
On abortion, Francis made a strong distinction between the sin and the sinner.
“I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion,” the pope wrote.
“I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life,” Francis said. “In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father.”
On the members of the traditionalist society, Francis was equally insistent on the primacy of mercy and the forgiveness of sins.
“For the pastoral benefit of these faithful, and trusting in the good will of their priests to strive with God’s help for the recovery of full communion in the Catholic Church, I have personally decided to extend this faculty beyond the Jubilee Year, until further provisions are made, lest anyone ever be deprived of the sacramental sign of reconciliation through the Church’s pardon,” he wrote.
The reference is to the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X, founded by French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, which broke with Rome in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) over a variety of issues, including modernization in the liturgy as well as ecumenical and interfaith dialogue.
Both provisions, for the forgiveness of abortion and the validity of confessions to traditionalist priests, were originally made by Francis at the beginning of the jubilee year, but at the time were valid only for the period of the year itself.
The concession on abortion has had little practical effect in places such as the United States, where many bishops had already delegated permission to priests to forgive the sin, but symbolically it’s been interpreted as a major gesture of outreach to women and others who’ve been involved in what Francis described on Sunday as a “horrendous crime” and “very grave sin.”
The document in which these provisions were presented, titled Misericordia et Misera (“Mercy and Misery”) was signed by Francis at the end of a Mass marking the conclusion of the jubilee year on Sunday, and presented by the Vatican in a news conference on Monday.
The pontiff began the jubilee year on Dec. 8, 2015, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, and ended it on Nov. 20, the feast of Christ the King.
Although some have found Francis’s emphasis on mercy excessive, suggesting it comes at the expense of calling sin by its real name, the pope stressed in the document that forgiveness is the essence of God’s love.
“None of us has the right to make forgiveness conditional. Mercy is always a gratuitous act of our heavenly Father, an unconditional and unmerited act of love,” he wrote.
“Consequently, we cannot risk opposing the full freedom of the love with which God enters into the life of every person,” Francis said.
Francis also rejected suggestions that his emphasis on mercy is at odds with the Church’s traditional proclamation of divine law.
“Remaining only at the level of the law is equivalent to thwarting faith and divine mercy,” he said in the document.
“Even in the most complex cases, where there is a temptation to apply a justice derived from rules alone, we must believe in the power flowing from divine grace,” he wrote.
Francis argued that showing compassion for the suffering is a special form of mercy, one which should endure beyond the formal close of the Holy Year.
“The drying of tears is one way to break the vicious circle of solitude in which we often find ourselves trapped,” he wrote.
“A reassuring word, an embrace that makes us feel understood, a caress that makes us feel love, a prayer that makes us stronger…all these things express God’s closeness through the consolation offered by our brothers and sisters,” he said.
The pontiff did not directly address controversy that erupted within the past year over his document on the family, Amoris Laetitia, and its provisions seemingly opening the door to a return to Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried.
Indirectly, however, he argued that people in difficult family situations have a special need for God’s mercy.
“This Jubilee Year cannot overlook the complexity of the current realities of family life,” he wrote. “The experience of mercy enables us to regard all human problems from the standpoint of God’s love, which never tires of welcoming and accompanying.”
In general, the pope suggested that the sufferings and pathology of the early 21st century illustrate the need for a rebirth of appreciation for the traditional virtue of mercy.
“Throngs of people continue to migrate from one country to another in search of food, work, shelter and peace. Disease in its various forms is a constant cause of suffering that cries out for assistance, comfort and support. Prisons are often places where confinement is accompanied by serious hardships due to inhumane living conditions,” he wrote.
“Illiteracy remains widespread, preventing children from developing their potential and exposing them to new forms of slavery,” Francis said. “The culture of extreme individualism, especially in the West, has led to a loss of a sense of solidarity with and responsibility for others.”
In another section of the letter, he expanded on the point.
“Being unemployed or not receiving a sufficient salary; not being able to have a home or a land in which to live; experiencing discrimination on account of one’s faith, race or social status: these are just a few of the many examples of situations that attack the dignity of the person,” Francis said.
“In the face of such attacks, Christian mercy responds above all with vigilance and solidarity,” he said.
“Our world continues to create new forms of spiritual and material poverty that assault human dignity,” the pope wrote. “For this reason, the Church must always be vigilant and ready to identify new works of mercy and to practice them with generosity and enthusiasm.”
Unless Pope Francis or a future pope decides differently, the next jubilee year is set to be celebrated in 2025.