It’s OK, these words are not misspelt! They are actually taken from part of the Lord’s prayer, as recorded in a copy of the old English Tyndale Bible of 1526. In a revised form, these words were used in the early Anglican Book of Common Prayer, and something similar has been repeated countless times by generations of believers.
I was recently looking into the topic of boundaries in the Bible, and I found myself thinking about the word trespass. It’s a word that most British people would probably first associate with notices seen alongside footpaths throughout the English countryside saying – No Trespassing , or Trespassers will be Prosecuted! The meaning of the notice is clear to everyone: beyond this sign there is land that you must not enter, but if you do, there’s likely to be trouble.
I like the word trespass, especially in the context of its implied meaning in the Bible and in the Book of Common Prayer. It’s clear that if I overstep the line that God has determined between what is right and what is wrong there will be serious consequences. I will find myself in spiritual territory that is likely to be damaging to my own wellbeing and also to that of others.
The word trespass is also very appropriate in considering our relationships with one another. For many people there has been hurtful trespass by others into the emotional and spiritual territory of their lives, often violating their God-given personal identity, ownership or responsibilities. The abusive crossing of these boundaries has frequently caused much pain to many people and can result in lives carrying residual damage today.
Thankfully, God does not just warn us about trespassing or transgressing His ordained boundaries, but He graciously gives us the remedy for the wrongful overstepping of these lines, both by ourselves and by others. We can know God’s forgiveness and cleansing as we acknowledge our own boundary infringements, and as we forgive others for their wrongful trespass into the personal territory of our lives.
Prayer: Heavenly Father thank You so much that You do indeed forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us. Amen.
"And forgeve us oure treaspases eve as we forgeve oure trespacers,"
David Cross David is Deputy International Director for Ellel Ministries, with particular responsibility for the Ellel centres in Western Europe. He is married to Denise and they have three grown up children and eight grandchildren. David has been a civil engineer and ski-touring instructor in the Highlands of Scotland. He is passionate about the teaching and practice of the healing and deliverance ministry of Jesus and has written several books: Soul Ties, Trapped by Control, God’s Covering and The Dangers of Alternative Ways to Healing, this last one co-authored with John Berry.
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