Why are thoughts and feelings considered sins?

Feelings like envy, jealousy, angry, wanting revenge. I understand that are wrong. I do not agree that they are sins. I think it only becomes wrong when you act on your thoughts. You have full control of your feelings. Sometimes you cannot always help how you react. If we are all given the choice to do good or evil, why do most people choose sin? I do not understand why God demands perfection if we are predisposed to sin.

I’m not quite sure feelings are sins unless someone is consenting to them. It’s certainly true of bad thoughts.

I think there’s a misunderstanding in the prior comment about what sin is. Temptations themselves cannot be sins.

Not being able to help one’s own reaction, that’s something I’d be careful with. I would say that a good amount of suicides and homicides happen under duress. It may even be true with assault and rape, but these are all grave matters.

A) Thoughts/feelings become sinful when they are bad and when we willfully feed them. So merely experiencing the emotion of anger when slighted is not a sin, but willfully dwelling on thoughts of punching someone’s face in is. If it helps, using the language that you did, dwelling and encouraging bad thoughts and feelings is in fact acting on them, just acting on them internally.

B) I’m not sure what you mean by “God demands perfection,” but He does, at least, demand that we not do evil. This is because evil does not become less evil just because we are predisposed to commit it, and to condone evil is evil. If you think about it, it would make no sense whatsoever to pretend that doing something evil is ok just because a certain group of people tend to do it sometimes - rather, the better option would be to help these people avoid evil and set up a way for them to recover from the consequences when they inevitably fall into it. Which is what He did.

These are sins if you consent to it.
But yes, wecan sin by our thoughts and feelings.


Yes thoughts or feelings are not sins per se i would say, but just if you say to yourself, without doing it, “If I could do this, I would. I want to”. And we were not predisposed to sin, but to freedom. so there is always our choice involved. Concupiscence came after eating the fruit! And sometimes sinning is easier than resist, that’s why most sin, if they even think resisting is better.


Neither feelings nor the desire to sin are sinful. It is the decision to sin that is sinful. The desire to sin is merely a temptation. It is when we decide to actually sin that we sin. Sin lies in the will—not in being tempted. Being sorry that one didn’t sin is to not realize what sin really is. Sin is not merely breaking a law. It is turning one’s back on the Lord’s gesture of love as He hung on the cross.

Anger, envy, and the like are bad dispositions, but they are not sinful unless acted upon. (They are vices). Thus, the Bible says, “Be angry, but do not sin.”

However, we can sin by choosing not to discipline our thoughts. Fantasizing – whether about having that person’s house, or about acting out in rage, or about sex – is sinful.

How is a desire a mere temptation? Desire is active, a temptation comes from outside, but concupiscence let us tend to sin. I think if we desire to sin, we want to sin. So we use our will.

The New Testament distinguishes two states of “desire”:

(1) Passion. This is experienced passively, as a temptation. I might “want” to bang the counter in anger, but this desire may be simply a temptation, not something I willed.

(2) Willed Desire. This is what lust is, or fantasized anger, envy, etc. Here the person actually chooses to encourage the passion experienced at #1.

A principle: sin is always voluntary. Since some evil thoughts are involuntary, some evil thoughts are not sin.

With this distinction in mind, I don’t see anything agains that anymore. :slight_smile: I would call it a desposition, and not a desire, myself, to be clear. That you are not quite yourself when you want this or that bad thing.

All sorts of thoughts or feelings can happen out of the blue -can occur. That they occur does not mean one has yet sinned. Sin involves the will to one degree or another.

But yes one can sin in ones thoughts and feelings


1853 Sins can be distinguished according to their objects, as can every human act; or according to the virtues they oppose, by excess or defect; or according to the commandments they violate. They can also be classed according to whether they concern God, neighbor, or oneself; they can be divided into spiritual and carnal sins, or again as sins in thought, word, deed, or omission. The root of sin is in the heart of man, in his free will, according to the teaching of the Lord: "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man."128 But in the heart also resides charity, the source of the good and pure works, which sin wounds.


This is why many, especially the youth have a really big problem with the Church and are leaving in droves.


  1. SEX is bad, really bad.
  2. Don’t have Sex! (it’s a sin before marriage)
  3. Don’t Masturbate! (it’s a sin!)
  4. Don’t even think about Sex (it’s really really a sin!)

The irony being of course, is that most teenage boys/men in their 20’s are
thinking about Sex constantly :wink:
I’m not saying they should just act on it, but to tell them that even thinking about it is
bad…well what do you expect?

It can be helpful to discover what the Church teaches on these subjects and why.

It is because the marital act (sex) is good -* very good*. Blessed by God. But it is so good and so important that it is to take place only within Marriage and be open to life.

And also you may wish to read the other posts here.

But that post there is off topic so we will leave it at that.

Most people do not do things spontaneously. A robber doesn’t just rob a bank. He first becomes envious of others’ money or belongings. He then makes a plan to rob the bank. Finally, he actually carries out the sinful action. You can see all sin starts in the mind. We first think about doing evil before doing it. Yes, our brains will put random thoughts into our minds, sometimes bad thoughts, but we need to control them when we realize they are bad. Thinking about bad things can lead to sin, so they can be thought of as near occasions of sin. We need to avoid near occasions of sin. Deliberately indulging in near occasions of sin is a sin itself. Basically, it is being too careless, similar to avoiding drinking and driving. It is taking a needless risk.

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