The case of the itching ears. It might sound like the title of a children’s book, but it’s a real problem y’all. Especially in our world today. Because you can find every flavor of religion to please your beliefs. And the keyword is your. As in, “let me find a gathering of people who think like me and who will make me feel good.” Or if a church (or a church member) offends us in some way or tells us we’re wrong/sinning/might be going to hell for x, y, z, we’ll be out of there before the last amen.
Because, well, we don’t seem to like correction or constraints. We’d like to live a good, comfortable, wealthy life – to do as we please – but to also be the children of God and spend eternity with Him. But then Paul goes and writes these things: “convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and teaching.” And then, “but you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 2;5).
The easy thing to do is to treat this as a historical letter from Paul to Timothy, leaving us to go about our day living as we please and as we personally and individually understand God wants us to live. But then yesterday we read in 2 Timothy 3 that Scripture is “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” Not just for Timothy, but for everyone. Yes, even us today.
“Itching ears” means hearing only you want to hear. We’ve all been guilty of this, but let’s not let have a case of itching ears when it comes to our faith and our spiritual lives. It’s always been the Scriptures – pure, unfiltered and without embellishment – that were meant to be our lesson book, plumb line and the word of God in black and white.
There are plenty of people out there who will tell you exactly what you want to hear. They’ll make you feel good and won’t ever point to your flaws, weaknesses or your sin. But they could just as pleasantly lead you to the gates of hell with false doctrines and empty platitudes. But the Bible and the Holy Spirit will never do that, because they’re programmed to lead those who listen and obey straight to the pearly gates. Itching ears won’t get you there. Only the Truth will.