Thoughts/feelings sins?

I have a few questions regarding thoughts and feelings, and how they are sins. If a guy has feelings for a girl, but that girl is in a relationship with someone else (not married of course, but dating. were talking HS level) would it be sinful for the guy to acknowledge such feelings, and think about that person in a pure way?

Also, how does a person judge what is in their heart, and what they want to be in their heart? Like if someone is trying to resist the temptation of being angry with someone, but deep down they really do feel anger, would this person be guilty of these feelings if they had them, or would their desire of not wanting these feeling prove that their will was against it.

Like sometimes I may feel something, but I know its rooted in selfishness, pride, etc I dont want these feelings, but they come anyway. How does one change the way they feel if they dont want to feel a certain way?, I just get puzzled sometimes, when I choose to do the right thing, want to do the right thing, but emotionally I may feel pulled in the opposite direction. Like if someone got me angry, my reaction would be to yell at them, but I would say, that its not right, and I wont do it, but I still feel the anger over it and the pull to say something back.

:wink: Remember, temptations are not sins. Even Jesus was tempted by the devil in the desert. Acting on those temptations constitute a sin. However, frequent reception of the sacraments, daily mass attendance, prayer…all help in fighting temptations. That’s where all things should start…with prayer.

What a great question! :thumbsup:

Remember that our feelings are seated in the physical aspect of our nature. God gave us emotions to motivate us to attain what is good for our physical health and security and to avoid what is bad for it. Human emotions are more complex beause human nature is spiritual as well as physical, but our emotions are still rooted in our unruly physical appetite. Part our the task of conversion is to bring our physical appetite under the control of our will, and then ultimately to purify our physical appetites so that they only desire what is truly good.

Until we reach the ultimate goal of purification of our physical appetite, we are going to experience emotions that we know are wrong because they motivate us toward an evil or an inferior good or they motivate us away from something we know to be good. In these cases, we do not sin in experiencing the emotions but we must use our will to make sure we are not motivated by them. However, the presence of these emotions do indicate that we still have a long way to go in our conversion. Don’t worry, though, I’m in the same boat as you in this area.

Your responses to these unbidden emotions are excellent. You change a possible lustful situation into an honoring one by thinking of acknowledging your feelings for her and thinking about her in pure ways. You try to kill unrighteous anger by willing it to go away and recognizing it as illegitimate anger when you experience it. You also choose not to act on your emotional anger.

Even St. Paul struggled with this! Your third paragraph sounds a lot like St. Paul’s lament, “I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate . . . I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want” (Rom 7:15,19). How do you overcome the problem? Through prayer and by continuing to do exactly what you are doing - retraining your physical appetite by using your intellect and your will to direct yourself towad what is truly good. Keep up the good work - as long as you are cooperating with grace and making progress you are on the right track!

Every feeling you experience is a portal into prayer. If you are longing for the love of someone, know that Christ’s longing for your love is even bigger. He understands, so talk to Him about it. If you are angry with someone, He knows about anger and forgiveness. Talk to Him about it. Thoughts and feelings are not sinful in and of themselves…they are opportunities for growing closer to Christ. Offer Our Lord your true self for He takes you as you are, right now, and if you let Him, He works with you.

You can’t help feelings, but you CHOOSE to do things. It’s not wrong to feel deeply for someone, but it’s wrong to fornicate. I can’t help it if I’m angry at my parents, but I can stop myself from doing something that would break the fifth commandment because I’m angry at them. Morals are not, thank goodness, determined by feelings.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit