Aaron's Thanksgiving Letter to God for 2023


Dear God,

Thank you for your great love for me, expressed by the gift of your Son who took the penalty I deserved for my sins. 

Thank you for all the problems, trials, and tribulations I've had in my life that have formed my character and turned me into the person I am today. Thank you that because of these trials and tribulations, I usually know what to do when I encounter new trials and tribulations and rarely if ever feel overwhelmed or discouraged anymore.

Thank you for my parents and my sister, my nuclear family, who did their best to help me grow up to be a happy, successful person. I know You appointed them for that purpose, and although I look back on some things I wish they'd done differently, I thank You that Your hand was on the process every step of the way and never allowed their mistakes and shortcomings, or my own, to cause me too much damage.

Thank you for my wife and children. When I think about all the mistakes and bad decisions I've made in my life, I am amazed that You still loved me enough to bring this marvelous woman into my life to be my wife and the mother of my children. Please help me to be a better husband and father, because the gift You have given me to be a husband and father are some of the greatest gifts anyone can receive.

I thank you for all my cousins and extended family around the world, especially my in-laws here in Israel. The older I get the more I realize that family connections are one of the most important things in life and worth every bit of effort I put into maintaining them.

I thank you for the congregation that I am able to attend every week for Shabbat meetings, prayer meetings, and Bible studies. Thank you for the tremendous investment this congregation is making into the lives of my children by providing so many activities for them to participate in. In a world that tries very hard to influence my children and shape their worldview, I'm grateful that I'm not alone in fighting for them.

For that matter, I want to thank you so much for all the other people in my congregation who regularly pray for my children and the other children in our community. This is so important, and I thank you for inspiring those who pray.

Thank you for the school where my children spend their days learning and growing. When I think of the hundreds of millions of children around the world who have no school to go to, including many who must work in dangerous and unpleasant jobs to earn the money they need for their daily food, I am very grateful that my children spend their days in such a place. I thank you that by going to school, my children are learning things that will make their future lives better.

I thank you that I live in a country where the government isn't perfect but at least it exists. When I think of the hundreds of millions of people around the world who live in "ungoverned spaces" where there's no law and order, no public services, and, in general, no way of knowing from one day to the next what one's situation will be, I am very grateful for what I have.

I thank you for my job, which allows me to earn the money I need to live while serving the plans and purposes of Your Kingdom. When I think of the hundreds of millions of people around the world who have no work and no income and the hundreds of millions of others who have a job that they hate going to and wish they could quit, I'm very grateful for what I have.

I thank you for all the stores where I can buy groceries and all the other things I need. The prices I have to pay in these stores are higher than I'd like them to be, but when I think of the hundreds of millions of people all over the world who have little or no access to the things they need on a daily basis and must spend most of their time fighting to simply stay alive, I'm very grateful for what I have.

I thank you for the Israel Defense Forces, the police, the firefighters, the medical response teams, the hospitals, the garbage collectors, the street sweepers, and countless other people who protect my family and otherwise take care of us in a million different ways. I'm sorry I sometimes forget to thank you for these people and the work they do.

On that subject, I thank you for allowing me to live in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. This is a privilege that millions of Believers, both Jewish and Gentile, would like to have. I thank you that I was born in this generation, in which You have appointed the State of Israel to be back on the map after 2,000 years. Although there are many problems here and I look to a future when Your Son Yeshua has returned to this city to set up His government and all those problems will be gone, it's still a great place to live and I'm grateful to be here.

Thank you that I grew up in the United States of America in a golden age, the 1980s and 90s. I was so greatly blessed by all the wonderful things that I had access to in those years. I'm also grateful that You took me out of the US at exactly the right time and brought me to Israel where I've received many more blessings from Your hand.

I thank you for all the material possessions I have which make my life so comfortable and enjoyable. I'm sorry for having a bad attitude sometimes because there's something I want that I don't have. Please help me to remember that if I really needed it, You would give it to me, and since you haven't yet given something to me, I probably don't need it that badly.

Thanks for the food, God. That's a REALLY nice touch!

I thank you for the many other things that make my life so easy, pleasant and fulfilling. I'm sorry I don't thank You for them more often. Please help me to have a more grateful heart and for my thoughts to more often be directed to thinking about all my blessings and less often about all the things I'm not happy about.

Happy Thanksgiving Lord, and thank You for everything. Amen.

Some Thoughts After a Month of War in Israel by Aaron Hecht


In a few days, it will be a full month since Hamas launched a barbaric rampage of murder, rape, mutilation, kidnapping, torture and terror against my country. Much has happened in the last month, and in this blog, I'd like to share some thoughts about what I've seen both here in Israel and around the world.

Prophecy is certainly being fulfilled before our eyes

The first thought that I've been contemplating this last month is that prophecy is definitely being fulfilled, but maybe not the ones we're all thinking about. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely do think there's a better than 50-50 chance that we're headed for a global war. Without question, we're in a season defined by "wars and rumors of war" and many of the other terrible things that Jesus said would be signs that HIs followers should look for that the time of His Second Advent was fast approaching.

But of all the prophetic passages regarding the "End Times," there's one that doesn't seem to get much attention, and I think that's a mistake. I'm talking about Matthew 24:12; And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will become cold"

Brothers and sisters, we are indeed in a time where lawlessness is increasing, and it is definitely prompting the love of many to grow cold.

Most of the time when the Biblical warnings about "lawlessness" are discussed by Messianic Jews, Hebrew Roots folks, Christian Zionists, etc. the discussion goes straight to Christmas trees, Easter eggs, the consumption of pig flesh, etc.

With all due respect to the deep, eternal, profound importance of these issues which certainly aren't comprehensively and even exhaustively dealt with in the Pauline Epistles and thus are worthy of every second of time and every iota of energy that is spent endlessly discussing them, I actually don't think that's what "lawlessness" means. Or at least, I think this term also covers other things.

The "post-truth world" that we live in is, for instance, a spectacular example of the phenomenon the New Testament refers to as "lawlessness."

 In the "post-truth world" there are only three rules. The first is that everyone is free to believe whatever makes them comfortable, no matter how absurd. The second is that no one is obligated to believe anything that doesn't confirm their narrative, or reject anything that supports their narrative, for any reason whatsoever. The third rule is that no matter what anyone wants to believe, or not believe, there will be something on the internet that will allow them to do so. Or, the internet (and the associated technology that allows for so-called "deep fakes" and other deceptive media content) can be pointed to as a legitimate reason for not agreeing to something that seems to be obviously true.

In other words, the old adage that "everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts" has been discarded. Also, the oft-repeated phrase from the Book of Judges that "in those days, there was no king in Israel and everyone did what was right in his own eyes" is worth mentioning in this context.

To paraphrase that passage, "these days, there is no universally accepted dictum that objective truth exists and needs to be taken seriously, so everyone believes whatever they want and this leads to them doing whatever they want."

Because of this, the love of many is growing cold.

In the last month, we've seen many examples of people flatly refusing to believe that Hamas carried out any atrocities against Israeli civilians on 7 October. When the videos Hamas operatives filmed of them committing atrocities are pointed out, this is dismissed as being either insufficient or unconvincing. After all, videos can be faked. Or one can simply deny that the videos, photographs, etc. of beheaded babies even exist.

I've heard some Hamas apologists speculate that all the video and photographic evidence of Hamas' evil rampage was fake, generated by Artificial Intelligence (everyone knows "the Jews" are really good at AI and Israel is a world leader in this technology) while no actual Israelis were victims of terrorism. The brother of a British political leader said he thought it was more likely that the terrified people we see being tortured and murdered in these videos were actually actors and actresses being paid to pretend they were in those situations. Presumably, he also thinks that the dog we see being gunned down in one video as he was attempting to chase away a Hamas operative who had invaded his kibbutz was also just giving us a new version of the old "playing dead" trick that dogs are so well known for. 

The apologists don't stop there, however, but rather take this argument to another, even more absurd level, by saying that even if babies WERE beheaded and women WERE raped and families WERE tortured and murdered, etc. it's all justified because these Israelis were colonists, living on "stolen Palestinian land" etc. Decolonization "by any means necessary" is acceptable and even laudable according to this narrative.

I won't go on, I'm sure anyone reading this blog has already heard all these arguments and been flabbergasted and horrified by them.

What's going on is very simple to explain even as it is very difficult to accept.

The love (and with it the basic human compassion that a normative person would feel when they see unarmed people being bullied, tortured, and murdered by heavily armed and masked terrorists) of many is growing cold. Technology which has been an instrumental part of what makes the "post-truth world" possible is also a convenient excuse to bury normative feelings of love and compassion for our fellow humans.

I expect this phenomenon to get much more intense going forward.

Too much information

This leads to the second thought I have been contemplating over the past month of war here in Israel, and that is the phenomenon of "too much information" or "TMI" for shorthand.

An anecdotal story can illustrate this.

A few weeks ago I opened an email from a large ministry here in Jerusalem and it included a link to a video they'd produced and put up on youtube. I clicked on the link to watch the video, which the ticker said had been viewed 1.3K times since it had been posted 22 hours previously.

As I was watching it, there were of course a bunch of other videos shown on the right-hand part of the screen, which the YouTube algorithms were suggesting I watch next, based on my past viewing habits and all that. The next video had been viewed 2.5 million times since being posted just six hours previously, and so although it was on a channel I'd never heard of before, I decided to give it a look, just so I'd know what 2.5 million other people had watched.

The video was some guy who identified himself as a "patriotic American Christian of Persian descent" and for 22 minutes this individual sat in front of his camera and talked a bunch of complete and utter rubbish about Israel, the history of relations between Israel and the surrounding nations, the influence "the Jews" exert on the American government, in Hollywood, etc. and many other topics. It was very sad for me to see that this video had been viewed so many times, but I also knew that it was just one of thousands of such videos.

I saw a statistic somewhere several years ago that said every 24 hours, almost 20,000 years worth of video is uploaded to YouTube. Since I saw that report the number has probably increased. Needless to say, it's impossible for anyone to watch even a tiny fraction of this content, not to mention the billions of posts that get put on other social media platforms on a daily basis. But the massive volume of information also makes it possible to find something that confirms almost ANYTHING that anyone wants to believe. It's also possible to find something that at least casts doubt, if not flatly refutes, anything that anyone doesn't want to believe.

The truth is out there, but so are a ton of lies, half-truths, obfuscations, etc. that make the truth MUCH harder to find than the proverbial needle in a haystack. Since many people aren't even interested in finding the truth, that makes it even harder, and it makes the world ever more dysfunctional.

An ancient riddle answered

The third thought I've been contemplating this last month is that I think I have an answer to an ancient riddle. This riddle sometimes gets communicated in the form of a joke, and it goes like this.

"What's worse, apathy or ignorance" and the punchline to the joke is "I don't know and I don't care."

But in the past month, I think we've seen that ignorance is FAR worse than apathy.

An apathetic person will do harm, but it will be in the breach. An example of this is a university student who doesn't bother to speak out against the Russian invasion of Ukraine because it's far away and they don't really care about stuff that's going on far away, although on some vague level, they might think that Russia is doing something wrong.

However, ignorant university students will turn out in their thousands to condemn Israelis for the crime of existing, which provokes others to attack them. Ignorant people, many of whom don't have the excuse of being "young and dumb" university students but who are in fact old enough to know better, will mindlessly chant slogans such as "from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free" and hold up signs which decry a "genocidal onslaught" against the people living in the Gaza Strip and so on.

Indeed, ignorance is far worse than apathy, at least in the degree of damage it causes.

Demonic activity is increasing in the natural world

All of the above can also be explained by an increase in demonic activity in the natural world. Many people have, without realizing it, invited demons to be part of their lives, and these demons have taken full advantage of the openings they've been given. The weight of generations of sin is also pressing down on this world, and many curses that people called down on themselves over the course of history, have been passed on to children and grandchildren, who are living in this present age and suffering the consequences of all that accumulated sin and guilt.

One consequence of unrepented sin is that it removes God's protection from a person, and that can and does lead to demons stepping into that person's life and taking control of their minds, their hearts, and their actions. It goes without saying that Satan and his demons hate the human race in general and the Jewish people in particular. Satan hates everything God loves, and the more God loves something the more Satan hates it. 

So if a demon hates Believers, Jews and Israel more than anything else, it naturally follows that any human being who is under demonic influence, if not indwelling, is going to hate Believers, Jews, and Israel too. This will lead them to do all kinds of things that a person who is not under demonic influence will find utterly baffling and even alarming.

A separation of sheep and goats is occurring before our eyes

This next thought follows from the previous one, and it's here that we begin to see some good news.

Even as there have been ever more strident expressions of demonic hatred of Israel and Jews, even as reports of anti-Semitic activities are skyrocketing all over the world, and even as some governments are beginning to downgrade or even cut their diplomatic ties to Israel there are also Christians who never showed much interest in Israel speaking up.

Churches, parachurch organizations, and individuals from all over the world are contacting and donating money to Christian Zionist organizations and local congregations here in the Land. Prayer meetings are being held for Israel in churches where that never happened before. There has also been an increase in public demonstrations of support for Israel to counter the anti-Israel demonstrations in Western countries.

In any case, no one is able to ignore Israel amidst all the media attention this country is getting at the moment. People everywhere are realizing that this is a defining moment for the human race, and a stand must be taken, one way or another. When faced with naked evil, people realize they must make a decision. Being lukewarm regarding Israel was never a good option, but now it's becoming simply impossible.

Let us pray for the eyes of many to be opened, for indifference to be replaced by urgency and for passivity to be replaced by action.

In this context, I will repeat a verse I've quoted many times before in these blogs.

"So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of My mouth" Revelation 3:16

The status quo ante is gone

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the father of the USSR, once said "There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen".

Despite the many evil things that Lenin did, and the even worse acts carried out by the regime he built in the years after his death, this quote by V.I. Lenin carries a great deal of truth. Because some historical events are so dramatic and far-reaching in their consequences that they can change the trajectory of human history as much, if not more, than a series of less dramatic changes that occur sequentially over a long period of time.

The last weeks since that horrible morning of 7 October have been like that here in Israel. We're seeing things happen that would have been unthinkable only a very short time ago, and they include things that some of us thought we might see happen someday, but only after a long period of gradual, sequential, incremental changes.

In short, things will never be the same in Israel, for better and for worse.

One such change is the voluntary enlistment into the IDF by a small but not insignificant number of Ultra-Orthodox men, who came to the recruiters and said they couldn't stand by and watch while so many others were fighting against an evil force bent on killing Jews just for being Jews.

Many liberal Jews, both in Israel and the Diaspora, are also having a "scales falling from the eyes" moment and seeing that their "woke" friends aren't really their friends at all. 

An old pal of mine who went FAR down the Left-wing looney toon rabbit hole when he went to college in Massachusetts years ago sent me an email last week in which he admitted that he'd made some mistakes. He said he can see now that many of these "human rights activists" he's been hanging out with are actually a bunch of hypocrites who only pretend to care about human rights while really being just as hateful, prejudiced, and bigoted against certain groups of people as everyone else.

He even said that he could see in his own attitudes and actions a great deal of hypocrisy, and he asked me for help in trying to become a better person.

Brothers and sisters, I won't identify this individual publicly, but I WILL say that if he can wake up and smell the coffee, ANYONE can, and it's NEVER too late!

Once again, a separation is happening, and some people who have spent most of their lives under demonic influence and oppression can still be delivered, but this requires a great deal of prayer, fasting, and faith.

In this context, there's one more thing that'll never be the same in Israel after this, and that's the attitudes of many Israeli Jews to Believers, including Messianic Jews.

I have seen, in my own family and among many long-time frenemies in anti-Christian groups that operate here in Israel, an awakening to the fact that Israel and the Jews are hated by almost everyone except Bible-believing Christians. The activities of Christian ministries and Messianic congregations in this country, including caring for those who have been the victims of Hamas terrorism and also including the members of our community who have fallen in battle, have also been noticed.

People from whom I've received tremendous amounts of venomous abuse over the years are, all of a sudden, displaying a very different attitude. I'm even getting questions about the New Testament from some of these people because they realize that they need to understand this book, even if it's just to better understand their allies.

This shift, from naked, high-octane hostility, to cautious and pragmatic curiosity, is a MAJOR step in a positive direction, in my humble opinion.

Needless to say, there are also many Jewish people who were always nice to me and always courteous and respectful towards my faith, who are now even more so.

I hope I'm not the only Believer in Israel who is having this positive experience, and I hope that going forward there will be a better atmosphere for Believers here. I also pray for the Holy Spirit to open the hearts and minds of these people to the truth of the Gospel, and that there be much fruit from the many conversations I and others are having amidst these difficult circumstances.

On that note, I'll wrap this blog up since it's already very long. I've got some more thoughts, but they can wait for the next installment.

If you're reading this blog, you're probably already very concerned about what's going on in Israel and you're probably praying into the situation and maybe also giving some practical help to at least one Christian ministry operating in Israel. Maybe you're also speaking up on social media for Israel, attending demonstrations in your area in support of Israel, visiting with Jewish people in your community to show them your support, or maybe even helping them prepare to make Aliyah.

Whatever you're doing, don't stop. In fact, try and kick it up a notch or two. This is "it" brothers and sisters. There's no point saving anything for late

Some thoughts on bearing false witness by Aaron Hecht

Have you ever wondered why the 9th Commandment is so specific?

Many translations of the Bible (and much of the commentary, both Jewish and Christian) about this commandment, treat it as if it said "You shall not tell a lie." In fact, you'll see many of the lists of the Ten Commandments embroidered on pillows, emblazoned on signs, posters, T-shirts, etc. translate the 9th Commandment as "Though Shalt Not Lie."

But that's not what the text says.

Obviously, lying IS a sin, and it's a very serious sin. The Bible has several other passages which make this very clear. But the 9th commandment doesn't prohibit telling lies. It prohibits something that involves lying but is more specific. Why would God do that? Why would He list a prohibition against this very specific form of lying alongside prohibitions against adultery, theft, and murder, along with all the other Ten Commandments?

Here's what I think.

In his famous book "Man's Search for Meaning" (which EVERYONE should read) world-famous psychologist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl said that being falsely accused and/or unfairly maligned and misunderstood is one of the most painful experiences a person can have. He even gave an example of how one of the guards at a concentration camp he was in had made a sneering remark about how he must have made a lot of money working as a psychologist before the war. Although it might have meant his death, Frank was unable to stop himself from indignantly informing the guard that, actually, he'd done most of his work for people who couldn't afford to pay him.

Did you catch that? 

A highly educated and intelligent man was willing to face possible death in order to set the record straight with a total stranger.

Have you ever experienced something like that?

I'll tell you about my own experience with this phenomenon.

I once worked in an office for a manager who had little regard for the truth. He was very focused on goals and viewed the truth as "all fine and good" but if it was inconvenient, he wouldn't hesitate to use lies and deceit to dispense with whatever inconvenience the truth might be causing him.

One of his favorite tricks was to blame his subordinates for the bad results of his own mistakes and poor decisions. This often involved making up completely untrue stories about them and even putting words in their mouths they never said in order to make them look like terrible people while deflecting attention from himself.

The first time it happened to me I was furious and tried to defend myself by telling the truth. But he brushed this off, simply repeating his false narrative over and over again, literally shoving it down my throat and making it very clear that I could either swallow it or he'd get rid of me. I wanted to stay in that job, so despite my intense feelings of helpless outrage, I swallowed that false narrative about me and moved on.

But it bugged me, and then a few months later something else happened and I had to swallow another false narrative, and then there was another one, and another. Sometimes they were about other people, and I knew he was lying to me about these other people, but I pretended not to know because, once again, I wanted to stay in this office which he was in charge of.  I swallowed one lie after another from this man for years until one day he went too far and I finally decided enough was enough, so I quit.

Quitting that job and leaving that office got me out of the toxic work environment but it didn't heal the scars on my heart and mind that all the lies and false accusations he'd made against me and other people I cared about, had caused. I spent a long time and a lot of money in therapy trying to heal and move on and to be honest, I'm still working on it.

A vitally important part of moving on from anything painful is forgiveness, and forgiving my former boss wasn't easy. But what was far more difficult was forgiving myself for letting it happen. 

How could I have been so weak and compliant, for so long, with something I knew was wrong? How could I have let someone use me like a dishrag and play me like a violin? Why didn't I fight back and stand up for myself more? Why didn't I call him out when he told me things about other people I knew weren't true? Why did I just keep my mouth shut in the face of such despicable deceit and hypocrisy? 

One thing that helped me answer some of these difficult questions was internalizing the fact that I was in a situation where someone who had power over my life simply didn't care what was true and what wasn't. This person sincerely thought that the work he was doing was so important that he was justified in saving himself from being distracted by petty hassles and problems. One way to do that was by blaming his subordinates for his own mistakes and then gaslighting, manipulating, shaming, bullying, and threatening them into accepting it, and much else that was convenient for him but maybe not so great for them. That, as far as he was concerned, was simply a management style that worked for him, so he saw no reason to do anything else.

So even if I'd tried to push back against the lies and false accusations with the truth, it wouldn't have made any difference. In fact, the few times I tried, it ended up just making things worse for myself.

What's true in the life of an individual is not infrequently also true in the life of a nation.

Consequences of living in a "Post-Truth World"

As I'm sitting here writing this, Israel is at wars.

No, that wasn't a typo. I deliberately made the word "war" plural in the previous sentence because the conflict Israel has had forced upon it in the past two weeks has many layers, facets, and dimensions.

There is of course a kinetic battle between the IDF and the Hamas terror organization which rules the Gaza Strip. There is also another kinetic battle being waged between the IDF and Hezbollah on the northern border. There are also kinetic battles being waged between the IDF, Border Police and other security forces, and various armed factions and gangs in Judea and Samaria. Although it's easy to forget, and indeed is barely being reported on anymore, the appallingly high levels of violent crime within Israel's Arab community haven't slowed down, and indeed threaten to erupt into yet another, internal front.

But in some ways, as difficult and dangerous as all those fronts are, there's another front in this war that's even more difficult and that's the public relations front.

Israel is vastly better at telling its side of the story to the legacy media than it used to be. But there are still a lot of "journalists" out there who bring a strong bias against Israel to their reporting on what goes on in this country. In the age of social media, the enemies of Israel have also found much better ways to bear false witness against us. Sadly, and for reasons that defy one's best efforts at rational speculation, the media and even many governments around the world are eager to take the lies and false accusations made against Israel at face value, while treating Israel's narrative with absurd levels of skepticism.

This was on sharp display in recent days as one of the most surreal situations I've personally ever encountered played out.

On the morning of October 7th, Hamas terrorists invaded Israeli territory and committed horrifying atrocities against Israeli civilians, filming many of their most gruesome acts so they could share the images and movies on social media. Almost everyone who has an internet-capable device has seen at least some of this footage. I am reliably informed that intelligence agents of several countries have seen footage that few of the general public have seen, and it includes things that drove some of the people who saw it to suicide.

However, despite this seemingly indisputable evidence, there were those who cast doubt on the reports of Hamas atrocities and demanded that Israel "provide actual proof" that they had happened. No matter how much "actual proof" was provided, these sneering doubters continued to cast their doubts. 

Then, on the evening of 17 October, Hamas issued a statement that Israel had deliberately targeted a hospital with air strikes and had "massacred" 500 people, mostly children. In the coming hours, that number of dead children would be revised several times, but no evidence of any kind would ever be offered for any of the various numbers quoted.

Within minutes, condemnations of Israel had been issued by several Arab governments. Shortly thereafter, Western governments, the EU, the World Health Organization, and many other agencies and NGOs piled on with angry condemnations of Israel while major media outlets ran front-page stories about the situation which quoted the Hamas statement, including the death toll, almost word for word.

It is not even theoretically possible that any of these governments, agencies, NGOs or media outlets would have made any effort to check the facts before running with the Hamas statement. No one even asked to see any evidence before issuing their statements condemning Israel for something Israel hadn't done. They were ready to take Hamas at their word axiomatically and without any trace of question or doubt.

Of course, in a few hours, the IDF released videos, intercepted communications and other evidence clearly showing that a rocket fired by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, intended for Israel, had instead fallen in the parking lot of the hospital. Even a video posted by Al Jazeera accidentally showed the rocket hitting the hospital parking lot.

The publicly available evidence compelled many (but not all) Western governments and media outlets to issue retractions of their condemnations of Israel and post fresh reports with a more neutral tone. But Iran, Turkey, Arab governments, and most Arab media outlets completely ignored the videos they'd seen showing the PIJ rocket landing on the hospital and continued to demand that Israel pay a price for this attack it didn't launch.

In other words, although the truth was on Israel's side, as it often is, it didn't help us much, as it often doesn't.

That's because many of the powerful people in this world don't really care what's true and what's not. Like my old boss, they have priorities that are really important to them and the moral or ethical dynamics of a given situation are not serious considerations for them as they seek to manage the things they have power over and grasp for power over other things.

That is deeply frustrating for Israelis and their supporters, but it's something that's not going to change before Yeshua returns to this Earth so my advice is to just manage your exasperation as best you can and pray for Him to come quickly.

All of this brings us back to the 9th Commandment.

I believe God included the prohibition against bearing false witness (which is a very specific form of lying) in the 10 Commandments because it is uniquely toxic to the lives of human beings and their relationships with each other and with their creator. Like all sins, it damages everything it touches. It hurts both the person (or country) who is sinned against as well as the one who commits the sin.

My old boss has suffered tremendously in almost every area of his life because of this bad habit he has of violating the 9th commandment for the sake of short-term advantages. It's very apparent and I wonder how it's possible that he doesn't realize it.

The same is true of these countries and governments and media outlets who are ready to believe, and immediately amplify, any false report about Israel. The media globally suffers from catastrophically low levels of public trust. Most Middle Eastern governments, and many Western governments, are held in contempt and deeply distrusted by their populations. Most of these countries are dysfunctional and corrupt. Everywhere, the phenomenon of the "post-truth world" is causing devastation and anguish, making normal life impossible. 

It didn't start recently though. There is a VERY old saying in this part of the world that "to admit to having made a mistake is to make a second mistake."

So, in order to avoid admitting to a mistake, people and governments tell lies, and then they tell lies to cover up the first lie, and so on.

Again, it's very difficult to imagine how these people don't make the connection between the lies they tell and the horrible situation they're in.

So...what's the good news?

The good news is, literally, THE GOOD NEWS!

The Middle East, very much including Israel, is VERY tired of all the lies, deceit, gaslighting, and hypocrisy and they're open to the Good News about the One who said of Himself, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me."

This aspect of Yeshua's identity, that He is "the truth" is something that I think we desperately need to take hold of. It's something that puts the Gospel in stark contrast to the way most of the world operates, and that might even be another reason for the 9th Commandment.

I invite you to join me in striving to eject from our lives any and all traces of lies, deceit, gaslighting, and hypocrisy. That absolutely includes the lies we tell ourselves and the false narratives we might be emotionally invested in. This includes false narratives about Israel, the IDF, and things we cherish about any other country or army.

It'll mean forgoing temporary advantages in many situations we might find ourselves in. It'll mean facing unpleasant consequences for our own mistakes, poor judgment, and failures. But I don't think we can do otherwise if we want to live out our calling, both as individuals and our corporate calling as the Church of Jesus Christ.

To sum up brothers and sisters, we can't bear true witness to the hope that is in us to a lost and dying world if we're failing the basic test of not bearing false witness against our neighbors.