forgive handsForgiveness?

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors Matthew 6:12

Do we really want God to forgive us as we forgive others?  Understanding forgiveness had been a struggle for me until one day the message of David and Bathsheba seemed to sink in.  After David sinned with Bathsheba, there were many who were hurt by this act; many people who would be betrayed by David’s act.  But David says in 2 Samuel 12:13

And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord.

And in Psalm 51:4

Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight

How can that be?  How can it be that David hurt and betrayed so many but it was only God that he sinned against?  Then it occurred to me that this is the key to forgiveness.  forgive hurtWhen someone hurts you or betrays you it is God that they have truly sinned against, not you.  You may be hurt, but the real offense is against God.  It is up to God to decide the consequences for these actions, not you.  Our God is a jealous God and claims certain things to be his own.  I believe that is why Paul wrote in Romans 12:19:

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

Forgiveness for us is easier when we understand that the true assault is against God and that He will take care of the punishment in due time.

On a personal level, forgiveness is for the forgiver, not the forgiven.  We are supposed to forgive someone for our own spiritual protection.  Refusing to forgive someone leads to bitterness.  Bitterness is caustic and destroys you not the person who hurt you.  We do not have to wait for someone to ask for forgiveness to forgive them, nor should we.  Take these examples to heart.  When Stephen was being stoned to death, he did not wait for his assailants to ask for forgiveness, he pleaded to God on their behalf:

And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. Acts 7:60

Jesus when he was about to be betrayed by Judas, kissed him and sent him on his way and as He hung on the cross, Jesus said to all eternity:

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34

forgiveness lockForgiveness is essential for our own spiritual well-being.   Paul asks Jesus this very important question:

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?   Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Matthew 18:21-22

Why would Jesus make such an “unreasonable” demand upon us?  He knew that when we refuse to forgive and bitterness is the result and we will be lost.

Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;  Hebrews 12:15

I believe a great source of confusion lies within the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation.  Forgiveness is personal and doesn’t require the other person’s participation but reconciliation does!  You can forgive someone and never be reconciled with them because reconciliation requires the offender to humble himself and repent of the offense.

Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.  But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.  And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Matthew 18:15-17

Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;  Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.  Mathew 5:23-24

Jesus died for the forgiveness of our sins…the whole world’s sins.  But only those who confess, repent, and accept that forgiveness receive reconciliation with God and eternal life.

forgivenessIf we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Our lives are but a picture of our relationship with Christ.  Our relationships with each other work the same way.  Reconciliation with your brother only comes through repentance.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. John 5:16

In conclusion, it is easier to forgive when you remember that the real offense is against God and not you.  God is control and will never leave you or forsake you.  Forgiveness is a matter of YOUR heart and is essential to your spiritual health.

Notice I said “easier” not easy.  When Jesus tried to explain this to the apostles their reply was, “And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. Luke 17:5.”  The road to righteous living is never easy, but the reward at the end is always worth it. May God Increase our Faith!

On Immigration, Obama Redefines Amnesty, Oppression, & The Law

Listen to this wisdom by my LEGAL IMMIGRANT friend Robin Keorner.

In his recent speech on immigration, Obama told us that, “mass deportation is contrary to our character.”

Embracing his new standard for executive action, I have a few questions.

If mass deportations are against our character, is locking up 1 percent of Americans—disproportionately black men—for hurting no one, consistent with our character? No, so what are you doing about the war on drugs, Mr. President?

If mass deportations are against our character, is recording the most intimate communications of our people consistent with our character? No, so what are you doing about the NDAA, the NSA, and the Patriot Act, Mr. President?

If mass deportations are against our character, is the killing of innocent people in foreign countries, and labeling them energy combatants just because they are adult males, so that we do not have to take moral responsibility for what we are doing—is all of that consistent with our character? No, so what are you doing about the drones and the killing of innocent people in undeclared wars, Mr. President?

Yet, the irony of Obama’s statement about our national character was trumped entirely by his quoting scripture: “We shall not oppress a stranger.”

Whatever is the best way forward on immigration, are we really going to equate extreme discomfort with rewarding law-breakers with oppression? That is insulting, I am sure, to many Americans. Enforcing reasonable laws concerning borders—which, at least in our century, are part of the basic identity of a country—is not really oppression, is it? Rather, it’s the natural democratic inclination of a people: the means by which the demos (people) geographically delimits the exercise of its kratos (power). Isn’t it a kind of common sense, evident in every single country in the world?

Barack_Obama_signs_Executive_Order-350x196Let me help my President out with the meaning of the word, “oppression”. Locking people up for choosing what they ingest is oppression. Come to think of it, locking people up for any victimless crime is oppression. Seizing the property of people who have not been found guilty of crime is oppression. Killing innocent people in foreign countries with drones, when your country is not immediately and imminently threatened, is oppression. Giving secret state agencies the ability and permission secretly to read and watch the intimate communications of citizens is oppression.

Enough of English vocabulary. What about American immigration?

The current American legal immigration system is a Kafkaesque system with which I am, unfortunately, all too familiar. Several times going through the legal immigration process, I noted that it would have been easier for me as a legal immigrant to have just given up and become illegal. And if that sounds hyperbolic, realize that (based on data from a few years ago), two thirds of legal Mexican immigrants, were once here illegally—so the system has for a long time been telling would-be immigrants that one of the best ways to legal status in this country is to break the law. No illegal immigrant is to blame for that fact.

It took me more than five years and thousands and thousands of dollars—on top of all the taxes I paid along the way- to get a green card. Supporters of amnesty claim their plans are “fair” because they require the payment of taxes, a criminal background check, a fine, and “the going to the back of the line”. In other words, their proposal is that illegal immigrants should get exactly the same deal as a legal immigrant—but with the bonus that the fine will be less than the legal costs that most immigrants have to bear. And don’t think that legal immigrants have a significantly easier time during their journey to permanent residency. During the time it took me to get my green card, contributing to the economy and paying my taxes all the time, on four occasions I had to make repeated applications, each with inches of paperwork, for permission to stay, under threat of having my legal status revoked and being immediately required to leave within a month or two. In terms of practical and emotional stability, it is no easier to be a legal immigrant for business in the USA than an illegal immigrant.

It seems that under Obama’s amnesty plan, I could have gotten my residency status, including the right to work with any employer, in less time and at much less cost than it took me to do it legally. Moreover, the fact that the illegal immigrant who shall benefit from amnesty will not receive citizenship is no detriment to the formerly illegal immigrant: unless expressly forbidden, this will be a step on the path to full citizenship, putting the illegal immigrant in the same position as the legal immigrant, again at less cost. As a legal immigrant, after the brutal five years of engagement with the legal immigration system to receive my green card, I have to wait another five years before I can apply for citizenship. So the minimum time it takes a legal immigrant, here for business, to become a citizen is ten years. That’s the line to the back of which legal immigrants go—and of course, legal immigrants start at the back of the line like everyone else.

The proposed normalization of status of those who have entered under the legal radar seems all the more inconsistent when one considers that we are actually killing people overseas because, Obama tells us, our national security is threatened. You always get more of what you incentivize, so shouldn’t this amnesty be part of a package that at least undoes the obvious incentive to more illegal immigration and enhances border security in a way that allows us to actually monitor who is entering our nation?

Those who are uncomfortable with rewarding illegal activity are not oppressors. They are genuinely concerned citizens, who feel that illegal immigration offends their basic sense of fairness, and they are scared because, if their country cannot even control its borders, with serious consequences in some border states, then what can it control?

This debate is not simply one of compassion vs. oppression. It is one of balancing compassion, fairness (justice) and the democratic right of citizens.

If, as Obama, seems to suggest, our country needs to take a sharp turn toward compassion—a turn that I would support fervently—then let’s do it. Let’s have “amnesty” for the innocent victims of American drones; for the men who, with a Federal conviction for a non-violent crime, lose years of their lives in a cell, only to come out and be unable to find work; for the families who’ve had their assets seized because they have violated some outrageous EPA rule, harming no one; for the victims of state surveillance who are suspected of no crime at all, and so on and so on.

And then, if as part of all of that, we implement this immigration amnesty—if the American people decide that is indeed true to our character—then let’s again be consistent by changing the immigration law so those who would come to America to work are incentivized to follow the rules, rather than break them.

And if you need help designing such a system, ask the one group of people in America who know the most about the immigration system but are listened to the least—the legal immigrants who know the rules because they played by them.

Perhaps Obama is right that this is about oppression, but not for the reason he thinks. The resistance he is meeting on this issue can be largely understood by realizing that many Americans feel oppressed—by a political class that is doing things tothem, rather than for them. And immigration, because of the issues of fairness and control mentioned above, is just one area where that feeling is strong.

You see, Mr. President, creating a whole new legal status for millions of people is—by definition—a legislative act, and by legislating in an executive office, ignoring one of the most profound protections of the rights of all Americans, you are perpetrating a very serious oppression indeed.


Robin Koerner

Robin Koerner is best known for coining the term “Blue Republican” to refer to liberals and independents who joined the GOP to support Ron Paul’s bid for the presidency. Blue Republican immediately became the largest coalition for Ron Paul, featured on his campaign site and on the wiki page about Ron Paul’s 2012 run. is now a movement that focuses on winning supporters for liberty, rather than arguments, by finding common ground with those of various political persuasions, and especially people on the left. Robin advocates Liberty with Love, and in that spirit, educates activists and candidates to become good salespersons for liberty, through his articles, his radio show and live trainings. Robin, a British soon-to-be-citizen of the USA, also founded, an organization of over 300 volunteers that translates and posts in English views about the United States from all over the world. Robin h as recently launched his own site at focused on teaching people in the liberty movement how to win support rather than arguments.

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