Y’all will be pleased to know that I have settled the debate over the Lord’s prayer,”debts, sins, or trespasses?” I settled it in the usual way I settle all theological debates, by asking God to explain it to me. Shortly thereafter, just around the corner from my house, a sign actually fell off a fence and whacked me on the head. When I picked it up it said, “trespassing.” Yes, only the bottom half of the sign chose to fall on my head.
God must have a great sense of humor because I suspect He knows exactly how difficult it would be for me to explain to anyone, “I received a sign from above.” No, not a spiritual sign, a literal one, as in a sign above me fell on my head and answered a question I had prayed about just that morning.
I am completely serious. Naturally it makes some people exceedingly nervous that there might be a crazy woman walking in the world who claims that God speaks to her. How do we know it’s really God she’s hearing? Surely she’s a heretic. Nope, I am not,“my sheep know my voice.” Many people say those words but they don’t believe, not really. The supernatural frightens them. I am unabashedly all about the supernatural and listening for His voice.
I still say the Lord’s prayer wrong sometimes, although “wrong” is not quite the right word. I don’t believe you can go wrong in prayer. “Sins, debts, trespasses” all capture a very similar idea. For me however, the word “trespasses” was a revelation and I immediately connected it to Proverbs 25:28, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”
A wall in Proverbs is a boundary. When a wall is broken down, one is not allowed to rule over one’s own spirit. It is a trespass. Healthy people have some walls around them, some boundaries, they are allowed the freedom to rule over their own spirit. If someone does harm to you, they are trespassing. It is an offense, a trespass.
When someone violates your boundaries, tries to scale your walls, trespasses against you, it is important to recognize it for what it is, to name it, and then work on forgiving those trespasses. Don’t try to put the cart before the horse. Don’t leap to forgiveness before accepting that the wall was actually breached.
I have a narcissistic mother with no boundaries. Suffice it to say, she is not motivated by what is in my best interests and never has been. That was a tough one for me to come to terms with. As kids we always hold out hope. I could never fully accept the idea that my mother owed me a debt or that she sinned against me. But trespass? Oh yes, that fit perfectly. The entire nature of our relationship has always revolved around Proverbs 25:28, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”
With narcissists you become their supply, your walls are an offense to them. The fact that you might need to rule over your own spirit does not occur to them. You really exist only as a hologram, as a reflection of themselves. I sometimes call it being trapped in a fun house hall of mirrors.
“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us..” serves a vital purpose. For one, lugging around unforgiveness is like dragging around a box of rocks. It hurts you far more than it hurts anyone else. But also, forgiveness allows you to recognize and name the trespass against you for what it was, a violation, a wrong doing, a breach of your spirit.
Everyone’s spirit gets breached sometimes. If yours never does, your walls are too high, and if it always does, your walls are too low. All of us have the ability to learn how to rule our own spirit,with a little help from above.