The story of Winnie The Pooh includes a chapter where Pooh is introduced to Piglet’s house which has a sign in front that says, “Trespassers Wil.” Piglet explains that it was the name of his grandfather. You and I know what the sign would have said when it was new is “Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted.”
I saw plenty of those signs in my ambling through the woods when I was a kid. I mostly ignored them and did as I pleased. I figured farmers put those up for adults and rabble rousers; they didn’t apply to little boys exploring their land. And in fact, I never had anyone chase me off their property.
Maybe it was because of the confusion surrounding those signs, but…..I never understood the Lord’s Prayer when I was young. We always recited the King James Version which includes these lines,
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
The only time I had ever seen the word “Trespass” was on one of those signs in the woods. To my young mind, I couldn’t think of a time I had been on anyone’s land that I should ask forgiveness, since as long as I caused no damage, the property owners didn’t seem to mind me being there. Puzzling……
And then, on top of that, I couldn’t remember a time when someone had been on our property who might also need forgiveness. Hmmmm, more puzzling …….
As I thought about that sign, I realized that a trespasser’s will is the problem. We will to do certain things, meaning we choose to do them even though they may be wrong. Rebellion, choosing to force my way, that is sin. Many sins are completely unpremeditated and done inadvertently while others are done blatantly; whichever, God knows them all.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
Ultimately, all sin is against God. It may or may not be against another human being. I could even sin against myself; any self-indulgent act that I commit can become a sin against my own body. I can eat too much, watch too much TV, stay up too late, etc. All of those things hurt me, but they also hurt God because he wants me to be healthy and happy.
All sin is harmful and it saddens me to see people who are trapped in situations they have gotten themselves into. I know in many cases it starts as something simple then gradually progresses until they become completely overwhelmed. They feel like there is no escape.
Sin is a powerful force to be reckoned with. But there are ways to avoid sin and I believe God gives us strength and opportunities to succeed. See Deut 31:6, Hebrews 13:5, 1 Corinthians 10:13, James 4
To trespass is to go someplace that you are not allowed to go. The same is true with sin; there are some places we just shouldn’t go. The best remedy for all sin is to avoid the place where it begins.
Remember what Hunk (the scarecrow) told Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz?”
Now lookit, Dorothy, you ain’t using your
head about Miss Gulch. Think you didn’t
have any brains at all.
I have so got brains.
Well, why don’t you use them? When you come
home, don’t go by Miss Gulch’s place. Then
Toto won’t get in her garden, and you won’t
get in no trouble. See?
When it comes to sin, we sometimes act like we have no brains at all. The way out of trouble is to not get in it to begin with.
I lift the mug today and say, “Beware of the trappings of sin! Choose to avoid it at all costs! It will only bring trouble and ruin into your life.”