Forgive Us Our Trespasses

Aug 05, 2021 by Cheryle Anne Miller



As I was pondering about the Our Father prayer, a thought came to me! Why did Jesus say forgive us our trespasses instead of saying forgive us our sins?

The meaning of trespass as defined in Merriam-Webster dictionary is:  to err, to sin, to make an unwarranted or uninvited incursion; a violation of moral or social ethics; an unwarranted infringement.

Such a strong word Jesus used to explain sin.  The word sin in itself alludes to wrong doing but to think of it as trespassing brings it to a different level.

Often times when we tell a lie or get angry at someone for something they have done to us, we don’t think of these actions as an unwarranted infringement.  We feel that there is justification for the action. 

For instance, someone said a very mean and hurtful word to me.  This is my justification to say a mean and hurtful word back to them.  I mean, they started it right?

When we look at sin as trespassing, it involves deliberate action that is not wanted.  You are invading the space of another.  This intrusion causes damage.

For example, I have a beautiful statue of Mary on my porch and someone comes along and deliberately breaks it.  The end result to this action is damage.  This damage can be physical, emotional and even spiritual.  This statue was my grandmother who passed away and I always prayed my rosary in front of it. 

Jesus then takes the Our Father prayer a step further by saying, “as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  What just happened to my justification?  Jesus turns it into forgiveness.

We, as fallen humans, our first reaction would not be forgiveness, but revenge.  An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.  But Jesus says forgive those who trespass against us.

If we think about it, would trespassing against someone else after they trespassed against us, really resolve the issue?

Forgiveness heals the damage done by the trespassing.

My Mary statue was put back together with some glue but it still has visible signs of brokenness. 

In order to heal and mend these visible signs, we should strive not only to forgive, but take it a step further and pray for the person and wish them well.

“But I say to you, Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you:  Matthew 5:44

If this seems too hard, take a long look at the Cross.  Would you allow your face to be hit without trying to block the blows?  Would you look at the person hitting you in the face with such love and tenderness, trying to calm their anger?  Who did this you ask?

The God-man on the cross that we are supposed to love and serve with all of our hearts and take up our crosses and imitate Him.

The next time I have the occasion to trespass, as I am a very weak soul, I hope to pause and think, “How is this act of unwarranted violation going to help me become a saint or do God’s will?

I pray that God will intensify the meaning of trespassing in my soul so that I can pick up my cross and follow Him.