Home > Protestant > Trespasses


No Trespassing signI was looking for some seminarian blogs on WordPress and found a thoughtful (maybe too much so) blog about the line in the Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  JustJen, a Protestant seminarian/minister writes:

… To trespass is something so much more powerful than to sin or to be in debt. If you have sinned, you’ve done something wrong. If have a debt, you owe someone something. If you have trespassed, you have been wandering around in places you do not belong. You’re traipsing, searching, stomping. Whatever you’re doing, you weren’t invited. You are where you do not belong.

No Trespassing signYou’re lounging underneath the forbidden tree waiting ignorantly for another piece of forbidden fruit. Your gaze is fixed on the wrong .com. Or your heart is fixed on absolutely nothing but yourself. You live on the couch or under your covers or in the closet or in the bar.

You’re backseat driving someone else’s life. You help them blur the sacred and profane. You violate their spaces, their senses and their self-esteem.

You have gone where you do not belong. You have trespassed. Against God. Against others. Against yourself.

Turning around and climbing back over the barbed wire fence or quietly sneaking out the back door will not help. When you go where you do not belong, damage is done even if you don’t see it yet. Property gets destroyed and trust gets violated. You can’t just say I’m sorry or try to pay it back.

See? I can apologize and I can pay back anything I owe. But when I have trespassed, it’s just too complex. There’s no way I’m getting out of it and no way everything can be made whole and right outside the help of Christ.

She’s too deep for me.  I think she’s saying a trespass is worse than just a sin, but I don’t see it.  — Anyone else?  Kermit?

Categories: Protestant
  1. July 6, 2007 at 7:06 pm

    It’s a matter of vocabulary and thinking about what words we’re really using and what they mean.

    Debt (the word most Protestants use) is kind of narrowing. If we use that word in real life, we mean that we owe someone.

    Sin (a word that some Protestants use) is a biblical and theological word, yes. But show me a picture of it. What does it look like to have sin in your life, to have someone sin against you, to sin against someone else? It’s hard to really explain; where debt is narrow, sin is vague.

    Most humans don’t get the vague. The boundaries in our lives our real. Our stuff (house, car, etc) has a set of boundaries. As people, we have emotional and physical boundaries. Every sin is about ignoring the boundaries. It’s about trespassing. That’s obvious when we’re talking about breaking in.

    We have been trained to say, “how have I sinned?” That’s a legit question, but it’s so gray. Trespassing is cut and dry. I crossed the line and this is what it caused. No hemming and hawing about it. When someone breaks into your house, the break things, they steal things, they leave you feeling vulnerable.

    Now apply that to any other sin. We need to go beyond just identifying it. We need to ask, “How did I trespass? What lines did I cross? What has been broken or stolen? Who feels more vulnerable now?”

    If we were trained to ask that and not just “how have I sinned?” we might be more equipped to identify and deal with the sin that plagues our churches, communities, homes and lives.

    So…I’m not trying to be deep. I’m just trying use words that really mean something, that help me and maybe others pursue God’s kingdom.

  2. catholickermit
    July 8, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    Thanks for the clarification. Now I get it. I tend to overthink some things. I definitely like your approach.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: