To such, then, an approach to confession should be opened up so that they may seek and find consolation among the ministers of the church. Or, if the matter is so unbecoming that they are ashamed to make it known before a minister, let them pour it out upon the bosom of another Christian and godly man, whoever it may be, whose reliability is proven, and in his presence let them make their complaint concerning those matters which are pressing and pricking their conscience and let them seek advice, saying: “My dear brother, help my disturbed and afflicted conscience that I may not die in my sins or cut my life off with a rope or a sword. Advise me, dear brother! I am going to hang myself, drown myself, or do myself some harm and die in my sins, etc.” In this case, when he hears the Word of God concerning the remission of sins, either from a minister or from someone else, he will be encouraged and receive the consolation by which his heart, wounded by the darts of the devil, will be healed. We do not ask here what or what kind of sins should be recited, but the special importance and usefulness of confession consists in the fact that salutary remedies are brought forward from the Word of God to those who are groaning and struggling with despair so that they do not succumb to the burden of sins and the terrors of the devil, which he is accustomed to increase to infinity. But it is especially important in special and unusual cases, such as sometimes occur when the devil is driving human nature on and deforming it with loathsome sins.
Luther’s works, vol. 6: Lectures on Genesis: Chapters 31-37 p 298