I want to talk about the idea that feelings can be sin. To be honest, it’s such a ridiculous idea to me that I hadn’t really thought to discuss it before, but I’ve run into this idea several times in the last few months and I’ve felt convicted to address it. This is a teaching that is oppressive and unnecessary and I want to expose it and talk about what the Bible really teaches on this subject.
To put it bluntly, I completely reject the teaching that feelings can be sin. Feelings just are. We are not in control of having them – only for what we do with them. To suggest that a feeling can be a sin is like saying if a man looks at a woman and finds her attractive he is guilty of lust. It is not looking at a woman that is sin, or finding her attractive, but it becomes sin if the man proceeds to focus his attentions on her sexually and lusts after her – coveting her for himself.
Because anger is the emotion most addressed as sin I will start with this one. In fact, someone recently prooftexted for me the reason they believe anger is a sin so I’ll just cut and paste what they provided. There are probably more verses but I’ll take advantage of their ‘5 minutes with the concordance’ and post this (by the way, if you spend 5 minutes with a concordance as the support for your argument you are prooftexting, not studying.)
- Ps. 37:8–Refrain from anger and turn from wrath.
- Proverbs 27:4 –Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming.
- Proverbs 29:11–A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.
- Ecclesiastes 7:9–Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.
- 2 Corinthians 12:20–I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.
- Ephesians 4:31–Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
- James 1:20–For man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
Let’s tackle these, though I’m not going to use any particular order because I’m going to group some of them for the reason of analyzing them. We’ll start with Proverbs 27:4. As is often the case with prooftexting, the person who compiled the list didn’t bother to include the entire verse. So what appears to be a Biblical argument is actually the set up for the point the verse was making. “Wrath [is] cruel, and anger [is] outrageous; but who [is] able to stand before envy? ” Now, as a study note, when using the KJV (which blb.org uses for the main page because concordances are based on it) anything found in parentheses is not in the original text. It has been added to help the reader understand the sentence. So it really reads “wrath cruel, and anger outrageous,” etc. That doesn’t really affect what we’re doing, but I wanted to share that for those who are learning how to study for themselves. But it’s time to see what this verse is really saying.