The Trespasser

It was dark with only the stars and a faint moon peeping from behind the clouds. The boy stepped carefully over the dim object in front of him and on towards the door. The old shed was dilapidated with a big hole in the roof and broken glass scattered around it from an old window that had long since been smashed and boarded up again but the rumours of what lay inside had captured his heart and he just had to find out if they were true.

The air seemed heavy with an eerie silence and the boy looked back towards the house to check that the lights were still off. He saw no movement and strained to hear anything that might mean he’d been rumbled. Turning back towards the shed he stepped forward but just then a dog barked and the boy’s heart leaped in his chest. As he began to run he tripped falling headlong. He put his hands out in front but kept falling down, down, down thenhe landed with a thud knocking wind out of him and gasped. Suddenly a sharp pain seared through his left hand and he let out a cry.  

Light shone from above him somewhere and he heard a voice.

“Sean, are you ok.”

What does it mean to trespass?

A trespasser  passes over, or passes across, coming from Old French and Medieval Latin transpassare meaning to pass beyond.

The word  trespasser normally conjures an image of someone entering someone’s land or property without permission like the boy in the passage above. It can also bring thoughts of the consequences of such action or the anger or rage of being the victim of trespass.

I was thinking of the Lord’s prayer and what trespassing against someone could mean.The word trespass varies in bible translations where it is often replaced with the word sin. So how do we trespass or sin against another?

If you think about the meaning of trespasser of passing over or passing across or beyond then you have to think of some sort of object or limit or boundary that can be passed over, across or beyond. So in the case of the Lord’s prayer what can this mean when we trespass against someone?

The dictionary says a boundary is a line marking the limits of an area and a bounder is a dishonourable man.

So lets take it from there and look at what relationship with one another looks like and what it would look like from the Bible’s perspective, or my perception of it anyway.

The dictionary defines it as the way in which two or more people or things are connected or relate to each other, the state of being connected, the way in which two or more people or groups regard and behave towards each other, and emotional and sexual association between two people.between two people. So what does the bible say about it?

In the words of Jesus we need to be like little children, trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving. So how can we know what our boundaries are meant to be as human beings and how can we know when we’ve crossed over someone’s boundaries or when they have crossed over ours.  Is it easy to recognise these things when they happen?

In the passage above the trespass, or crossing over is obvious, this boundary was about crossing over the boundary of someones property without permission. What about when it’s not so obvious? What about when someone gets angry with you and shouts or calls you names. What about if they treat you unfairly, leave you out or punish you for something you haven’t done?

What about when people form intimate relationships and then one abandons,rejects or abuse the other? Have boundaries been crossed that shouldn’t have been and caused hurt and harm? Is this what is meant by forgiving others their trespasses against you and asking forgiveness for your own? What is forgiveness anyway, what does it mean?

The dictionary defines to forgive as  to stop feeling angry or resentful towards (someone) for an offence, flaw  or  mistake.

The words of Jesus in the bible tell us to forgive.  Can we forgive trespass? Have we trespassed? Should we forgive and why forgive?



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