Forgive us our trespasses

Image: Vincent Guth

This is Part 6 of the weekly series where I break down, line-by-line, the Lord’s Prayer and interpret it however I wish (because everyone should do this). This series is inspired by the book, ‘Power Through Constructive Thinking’ by Emmet Fox. If you’ve missed the previous entries in the series, you can read them all here.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

The immature understanding of forgiveness is limited to letting someone get away with something bad. That was my understanding of forgiveness for years.

Although I repeated this line many times, I also felt a deep misalignment with it inside because I knew people who had done horrible things and I also knew there was no way I could be okay with it.

I’ve grown to understand that ‘forgiveness of sins’ lives much deeper than that.

I’d say, in fact, that forgiveness is central to our problems in life.

The true meaning of sin is something along the lines of, missing the mark.

It doesn’t necessarily mean ‘disobedience’ or ‘rudeness’ or ‘inappropriate behavior’ (although those can be included in the definition). It doesn’t mean that we’ve not checked off a box or two from some dogmatic rulebook a bunch of robed humans drafted up.


To sin means to live out of alignment with Life itself.

I see God/Life/Source as a huge, rushing river. It’s going somewhere. For gajillions of years (give or take a few), this universe has been progressing towards something. If you zoom in and look at your life, you’ll see that it’s working the same way on a micro level.

Stand back and take a look at the rushing river of your life…

Which way is it flowing?
Have you been in that flow or bucking it?
If you’re saying the latter, this is all sin is.

No, I’m not saying to fall victim to the forces that seem to be against you. That’s not going with the flow; that’s helplessly standing in the middle of the rapids and getting knocked around against the rocks.

There we are, all alone, isolated, self-contained, wondering where God is (or whatever savior we’ve adopted).

God is right there. God is the flow. Jump in that raft and head downstream.

We are at one with this flow, undivided from Life.

We ‘sin’ (or, ‘trespass’) — when we try to make our own flow either by either playing the victim or asserting our individual will against someone else in order to get ahead — it’s an uphill battle.

The thing is, I don’t believe God cares. God just flows. We can close our eyes to it as much as we want, but it still just keeps on drifting along.

This belief in life apart from the Flow (aka, God) is an illusion. And this is where we miss the mark.

Now… When we talk about forgiveness of sins, we see that this prayer doesn’t just stop at asking God for forgiveness. It puts our forgiveness in direct relation to our forgiveness of others (AS we forgive those who trespass against us).

Again, this has nothing to do with some man in the clouds keeping score…

Has she forgiven her? No? Well, I can’t give her a point then…

If you hold on to resentment and condemnation of another, you have stepped out of the Flow and locked yourself in bondage with that person.

Setting others free means setting yourself free, because resentment is really a form of attachment. It is a cosmic truth that it takes two to make a prisoner; the prisoner — and a gaoler. There is no such thing as being a prisoner on one’s own account. Every prisoner must have a gaoler, and the gaoler is as much a prisoner as his charge. When you hold resentment against anyone, you are bound to that person by a cosmic link, a real, though mental chain. You are tied by a cosmic tie to the thing you hate. The one person perhaps in the whole world whom you most dislike is the very one to whom you are attaching yourself by a hook that is stronger than steel. 
 — Emmet Fox

Same goes with self-condemnation or resentment. This is not the Flow. It doesn’t do any good and only leads to suppression and projection.

By forgiveness, you set yourself free. Whether what that person did is wrong or right in your individual book doesn’t matter. What matters is that you set yourself free to live your life downstream.

Finally, forgiveness has nothing to do with having to like someone who has done you wrong. You don’t have to be pals with them — in fact, this has nothing to do with them at all. It has to do with you being rid of your chains.

This all might make sense as you’re reading (it sure does as I’m writing it), but in all honesty, forgiveness is hard. It’s one of the hardest things we humans can do. But I hope you see a glimpse of how vital it is to a vibrant life.

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