For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching but, having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions (2 Timothy 4:3).
In the end-times many people will not listen to teachings of truth and righteousness.
The word that the Apostle Paul uses in 2 Timothy 4:3 for “sound teaching” is the same word from which we get “hygiene” in English. Paul’s prophetic insight is that in the end-times many will follow teaching and agendas that bring sadness and sorrow.
Or bad spiritual hygiene!
Why? Because it satisfies their passions.
The Greek word for “passion” is “strong or uncontrolled desires.” Listening to the promotion of indulgence in the media, and how we accumulate scholars and science according to our preconceived notions, we don’t want sound teaching – we want satisfaction for our strong desires and opinions!
How do you know if you are following false teaching? There are three common symptoms of “itching ears.”
First: Faith becomes doubt and anger
It doesn’t take long on social media to find rants against the church.
Abuse should never be tolerated. However, “itching ears” criticize teaching or actions out of line with personal desires or opinions.
I was a shepherd of God’s people for 49 years. Everything that could happen – happened. I have more reasons than most for being angry at the church. Especially noting that those I served most often later became my vindictive accusers.
But I still loved them. Faith overcomes sin. Anger subsides, and there is freedom and healing when we forgive as we have been forgiven. Instead of doubting, we love toward unity.
Second: Increasing isolation
I had a conversation with a former church leader. The leader gave me a litany of errant political thoughts by conservative church members. Then I heard a statement that I’ve noticed more and more, “I’m so tired of the church being so narrow and out of touch.”
Wow, what a narrow and out-of-touch statement!
The leader’s solution? Leave the church and accuse former brothers and sisters. Christians do best promoting His Kingdom and not an earthly political party. Speaking truth in love is the solution.
Itching ears need idea-isolation with self and others of similar thought. This applies to conservative and liberal thinking.
Third: Good becomes bad and bad becomes good
There is a subtle slide toward evil, unnoticed at first.
This slide must be challenged by the righteousness in others – through their actions and words spoken in love. Disconnecting from fellowship polishes the slide. I’m amazed at the quick change in those with itching ears.
I find their anger causing immunity to counter-ideas.
This month, the church that I attend has been encouraging members to find accountability partners. The reason? We are all hypocrites. Solid relationships give the antidote to itchy ears!
Also, you can continue to read Interruptions, as I have a problem with itching ears – and I admit, little tolerance too.
I was a shepherd, but I still get angry when the sheep become sick from unhygienic teaching.