“Feelings, nothing more than feelings,” I have an exceeding dislike for that song and it often tries to pop into my head whenever I speak of feelings.
So, feelings are not sin. Jesus Christ as a perfect and sin free man got angry, sad, and He wept. He experienced feelings and yet He did not sin.
Ephesians 4:26-27 tells us, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.”
Be ye angry. Feelings are a normal, healthy part of being a person and we must allow ourselves to experience and feel them. How we express them, what we do with them, how long and how tightly we hold on to them, these things can become sin. Ephesians suggests a time limit on our emotions, let not the sun go down upon your wrath. To everything there is a time and a season and a purpose. In biblical times there was a limit on grief, a specified time for mourning and then you put it away. Joy comes in the morning. Feelings that stick around unresolved, unaddressed, may well become a problem at some point, but feelings themselves are not bad.
I say this because women especially tend to deal with a lot of labels placed on us by the culture, “delusional, crazy, emotional, unstable.” Add some emotional abuse into the mix and women can wind up feeling very shamed about emotions, especially anger. In the culture it often seems as if women aren’t allowed to feel angry while anger is the only feeling men are allowed to have.
This is not healthy. Women wind up internalizing anger, feeling sad or guilty, the more culturally approved female emotions, when what we are really feeling is anger. Men who may be feeling guilty or sad are often led to feel angry, the more culturally acceptable male form of “feelings.”
And so we come to a place where some people just start declaring feelings themselves to be a sin. They are not. The way our broken world often directs us to handle them is all wrong, but the feelings themselves are a healthy and valuable part of who we are.