Forgive us our Trespasses

A few weeks ago I trespassed onto private land and was expelled by security. Well, it wasn't quite as exciting as that. I was in Churchtown near Southport and came across a sign for Meols Hall. I like old houses and was instantly attracted to the open gates to which it pointed. By the gates was a sign saying 

Meols Hall
Open to the public
 
I walked down the drive photographing the grounds as I did so. I arrived at the house, an imposing Georgian-looking pile. Strangely, there were no signs up offering welcome or advising on ticket sales. I walked around the building. At the far end, some men came out and stared. Something was wrong. Feeling rather uncomfortable, I walked back from whence I had come. The men got in their vans and drove up to me, wishing to know my business. The first gentleman was civil but not particularly friendly. He explained that the house was not open to the public. This irritated me as I had read the sign upon entry, but I apologised, and off I went. He drove on, but the second man in his van remained behind me and tarried atop the drive until I'd crossed the road. I turned round to see if he was still watching me- and he was. My turning back probably confirmed his suspicions that I was a ne'er-do-well, or, worse still, a delinquent who was sniffing out the old house in order to plan some future break-in. 
 
 
Feeling badly done to, and muttering to myself that they shouldn't erect signs inviting visitors if they did not welcome them, I looked again at the sign. In fact, I had only partially read it. It said
 
Meols Hall
Open to the public
on bank holidays
PRIVATE
 
The sign was clear enough but I had lacked the wit to read it properly.
 
So had I done wrong? I hadn't planned to go trespassing. I wasn't aware I was doing until it was pointed out to me. It was a simple misunderstanding, surely? We all make mistakes, don't we? Be that as if may, I WAS in the wrong. I was in the wrong the moment I stepped onto that land.
 
Sin is the breaking of God's law. It need not be deliberate, wilful or malicious. But it makes us law breakers regardless. The book of Numbers instructs the ancient Israelites of what must be done in the event of unintentional sin:
 

Numbers 15:22-31New King James Version 

22 ‘If you sin unintentionally, and do not observe all these commandments which the Lord has spoken to Moses— 23 all that the Lord has commanded you by the hand of Moses, from the day the Lord gave commandment and onward throughout your generations— 24 then it will be, if it is unintentionally committed, without the knowledge of the congregation, that the whole congregation shall offer one young bull as a burnt offering, as a sweet aroma to the Lord, with its grain offering and its drink offering, according to the ordinance, and one kid of the goats as a sin offering. 25 So the priest shall make atonement for the whole congregation of the children of Israel, and it shall be forgiven them, for it was unintentional; they shall bring their offering, an offering made by fire to the Lord, and their sin offering before the Lord, for their unintended sin. 26 It shall be forgiven the whole congregation of the children of Israel and the stranger who dwells among them, because all the people did it unintentionally.

27 ‘And if a person sins unintentionally, then he shall bring a female goat in its first year as a sin offering. 28 So the priest shall make atonement for the person who sins unintentionally, when he sins unintentionally before the Lord, to make atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him. 29 You shall have one law for him who sins unintentionally, for him who is native-born among the children of Israel and for the stranger who dwells among them.

30 ‘But the person who does anything presumptuously, whether he is native-born or a stranger, that one brings reproach on the Lord, and he shall be cut off from among his people. 31 Because he has despised the word of the Lord, and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt shall be upon him.’

It's interesting that even unintentional sins must be atoned for by sacrifice. My flesh or sinful nature renders me so weak that I break God's moral law when I'm not even aware that I'm doing it. But the blood of Christ at Calvary, to which Numbers' sacrifices point, covers them all. When I became a Christian, God was able and willing to forgive all my crimes- even the little ones and those that I had not myself detected because they had evaded my corrupted moral radar. 

So sorry, Meols Hall. It wasn't deliberate, but it did provide me with an illustration of my sinful nature.