I am currently reading Miroslav Volf's book 'Exclusion and Embrace'. In this book Volf quotes Cornelius Plantinga as saying that at the heart of sin "lies the persisent refusal to tolerate a sense of sin".
I think this is a really important idea. I'm not suggesting that I've totally embraced this understanding in my own devotional life, but I have a sense that human beiings are powerfully released to grow in holiness when each of us is willing to live with the idea that we are sinners. When I can really embrace the idea that I am a sinner but that God loves me 'anyway' - through the life, death and resurrection of Christ - then I become free to acknowledge my sins before God and to be changed by the Spirit. I will no longer need to hide from myself that I am sinful and I will no longer need to try to hide from God the fact that I'm sinful - as if I could do that.