No Trespassing

>> June 13, 2011

Onward I march through the Christianese series and present you with the letter T.


In William Tyndale’s early printed version of the New Testament, he interpreted a line in the Lord’s Prayer to say: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  I grew up saying “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors”. I’ve struggled over the years when visiting other traditional mainstream churches, or attending community services, where the word Trespass was used in place of debt.

In my mind, trespass was what we did as a kid when we cut across a neighbor’s property to go to the corner store for candy and Orange Crush sodas. I’ll never forget the time we crossed the empty pasture on the way to the store, but on the way home…the field was no longer empty.

My brothers were well ahead of me and the neighbor girl. When we were somewhere around the middle of the five acres, I heard my brother whistle. I looked up and he was waving frantically for us to hurry.

All of a sudden I heard a noise I’d never forget; the sound of a bull’s snort followed immediately by the thundering of his hooves on the ground growing louder by the second. It vibrated my innards and I almost peed my pants. I never ran so fast in my life. My brothers stood on the bottom barbed wire and stretched the top one up as high as they could. I dove through the opening and somersaulted into the scotch broom on the other side.

That’s what I call needing my trespasses forgiven, but I couldn’t figure out what that had to do with debt/debtor. Wasn’t that when you borrowed money for a car and someone forgave you of your need to pay it off? Wouldn’t that be nice?

After much deliberation...and a few years of maturity, it seems that both words (debt/trespass) are used as synonyms for the word “sin”. Now that I can wrap my mind around.

I’m sure I’m not alone when I look back into my past and see times when people have trespassed all over me. Their footprints have left permanent marks on my heart…in my memories. There have even been times I thought they “owed” me something like paying off a debt for their harmful sin against me.  I could even take care of things legally for their trespassing, but what would that really accomplish?

I know if I want to be forgiven of my sin, I need to forgive those who have sinned against me, whether they ask for it or not.

 Forgive me of my trespasses…
                Of the things I have done that sinned against others.
As I forgive those who trespassed against me…
                Of the things people have done that is sin against me personally.

Next time I see a "No Trespassing" sign, I will remember I forgave... and let it go.


4 comments so far...Care to leave your thoughts?:

Joanne Sher 6/14/2011  

The letting go is the hardest. Wonderful explanation - so clear, Mari.

Rita Garcia 6/14/2011  

I love your Christianese series! Forgive me for repeating myself--but I sooo hope you publish these! I would love to have a book with all of your Christianese series posts.

Lisa Mikitarian 6/14/2011  

I was caught trespassing two weeks ago--the big bubba of a farmer let me know it, too. I haven't been that skeered in a looooong time.

Anyway, great explanation/application. And I totally agree with Rita.

Laury 6/18/2011  

Sometimes forgiving myself is harder than anything. I do love this series, Mari. Keep on going. I believe... A,B,C...T,U! That's it! U is next.

Luvu! Thank you for always forgiving me when I trespass against you. mwa mwa mwa

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