A very disturbing report came out from UN Watch this week. In particular, Hillel Neuer’s report of UN workers taking part in the Hamas attack on October 7 in Israel was almost beyond belief. Unfortunately, it appears to be true, the report not only describing the recent events but the decades of issues around this topic as well. It is so shocking to learn ugly truths of an organization we have been led to understand so differently. I leave it to you to discern.
That report, however, sparked thoughts related to how difficult it is to know what is true and what is not true, especially when reported in mass media and when discussed in social media. Thankfully, being aware of this reality prompts us to investigate the source of the information being provided. We surely have been reminded over recent years of the truth that there is no objective source of reporting on current events so we are forced to do our homework as we strive to understand bias when listening and reading. Hopefully, for most of us, we’ve learned to educate ourselves before accepting what we hear as “the news” or “scientific evidence” and we pray that that drive to seek the truth grows in the hearts and minds of all.
Lies. Whether intended or not, that is what results many times as reported in the media and even from the mouths, whether intentional or not, of those whom we are to respect including some influencers and leaders, at all levels. Sadly, many believe these lies and so we have a world often in chaos. We do not have control over others, but we surely can think about the control we do have over our own thoughts and words.
We all know the act of lying betrays truth. It’s not as hard to see the big lies – stealing, finishing our work, sometimes our statements about ourselves and others, the list is endless. So many ways to think about this topic, even whether it is ever right to lie. We’re not going through these many worthy ponderings today, for the really small lies are our focus.
Several passages in this week’s Daily Dvar spoke of God’s Presence to help us follow the truth. One passage in particular really moved me, John 14:16-17 describing the words of Yeshua to His followers:
“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another helper so He may be with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him.”
As I read this passage from John alongside the UN Watch report this week I was actually in awe that those words written thousands of years ago could still be so true, and correctly admonishing. For if one truly walked with the Spirit of truth, such acts of duplicity would not occur. It would not be possible.
God’s enfleshment through His Son Yeshua brought this life giving truth to us in a way we could understand. He bridged the gap of understanding so we really could get the point, blessing us with this Spirit of truth to be a constant reminder, but only if we really know God in this deepest of ways. Individually we can’t change the world from the top down. We can, however, change it from the bottom up, starting with ourselves, then one person at a time, hopefully over time bringing truth throughout our world.
Yeshua knows every hair on our heads, every thought in our minds, every feeling in our hearts. For those reading this without that encounter with Him yet, trust me, it’s true. You may not know Him, but He knows you. I have felt close to God the Father for my whole life, yet His intimate dimension is palpably felt through Yeshua and the Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit).
So when even the slightest temptation to bend the truth enters my mind, and heart which is filled with Him, I am stopped. Even if the opportunity for the smallest “lie” arises, like noticing wrong change received at a store or noticing on a receipt that I hadn’t been charged for an item, I feel compelled to make it right, for I know He is with me at that very moment. I do the right thing by acting to establish truth in the situation. His Presence in my heart, literally, guides my every action and He knows everything I am about to do, everything I’m thinking, and feeling. That’s how intimate it really is. That’s how life giving is this relationship with Him. I always feel better listening to His promptings than had I not done so.
As these thoughts emerged, the image of an artichoke came to mind. It’s actually an ancient vegetation referenced even in Roman times. As a type of thistle, when it matures its outer covering becomes hard and prickly. Yet at its center, through impenetrable layers, is a delicious, nutritious “heart” that is not “choked”. Our world is as the artichoke, hardened and often causing pain. Yet it is comprised of billions of people whose hearts are or could be opened to the Truth of Yeshua, His Heart of infinite love.
As one who seeks His Presence I encourage you to cherish that heart, a heart of Truth and unconditional love, a blessed gift to each of us meant to be shared with the world through acts of lovingkindness and love of our neighbor. As our hearts grow and extend love to others, each loving area around us grows, and grows, one to the next, and touches another such area, and another such area. Perhaps through sharing with others each of our hearts of Him, one day the “world” will be able to know and receive Him.
May it be.