Confession is a way to start over. This might mean confessing your sins to God in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, or confessing to another person some way that you have wronged them. You might not expect a song of penitence and remorse from a band like Linkin Park, but this is exactly what we have in “What I’ve Done.” It’s a song about washing oneself clean and starting over. It’s a song about coming face to face with our own sin, and having to find a way to start again. Though there’s some uncertainty about the possibility of forgiveness here, the refrain asserts the singer’s need to find it: “So let mercy come, and wash away what I’ve done. I’ll face myself. To cross out what I’ve become. Erase myself, and let go of what I’ve done.”
This is not about self-annihilation, but about the freedom that comes when we accept mercy, and know ourselves to be forgiven. The song also suggests what is often the case; that, frequently, the hardest person to forgive is myself: “Today this ends. I’m forgiving what I’ve done.”
It’s a brief song, that’s also short on lyrics, but still it manages to say a lot.The video also reminds us that this is not just an individual thing. We have to face the consequences of what we do as a community, and seek mercy for that too. Not so that we can forget about it, but so that we can start again trying to make it right. See the video here.