Itching ears

itching ears“Itching ears” – whenever I read that expression in Scriptures it piques my curiosity. It is an interesting metaphor. When our physical ears itch, we have an immediate, and almost instinctive desire to reach up and scratch that itch. Itching ears quickly draw our attention, yet rarely is an itching ear a serious health crisis.

This morning I read and reflected about this statement that Paul used in his instructions to his protégé, the young man Timothy.

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 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.     II Timothy 4:3-4

In this context, “itching ears” is used as a metaphor for a desire or distraction to listen to the latest fad, the latest exciting gossip, or the latest political controversy. In the past decade or so, Social media has exploited our penchant for this type of “information”. Social media provides the ideal forum to promote people’s desire to “accumulate teachers to suit their own passions.” The headlines are designed to evoke curiosity and emotion, and not necessarily the truth. Here are a few from my social feeds this morning, written specifically to raise emotion and tickle the ear:

  • “President signs executive order to slash regulations”
  • “America is on path to becoming what Germany was in 1867”
  • “Colossal crowds take to the streets”

Today’s headlines are designed to evoke curiosity and an emotional response. The short quick reads that social media provide present a narrow view of the issues and rarely provide a broad, educated perspective.

Americans have become mentally lazy. We don’t do the homework necessary to understand an issue fully. We make quick decisions based on what “sounds” attractive. We have a poor understanding of history, and thus readily repeat the mistakes of the past through narrow, self-focused thinking.

As a nation, we need the TRUTH. Unfortunately relativism and its insidious companion “progressive-ism” have predominated our thinking as a people for several generations. Our education system has supported and promoted this wrong thinking as public and collegiate education has turned to what is “politically correct” and a revisionist history. The authority of the Bible is denied.

We need to return to an absolute and true authority.  The Apostle Paul further instructed Timothy:

All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness.    II Timothy 3:16

The Bible is the ultimate authority on TRUTH. In a world ever prone to the pursuit of myths and fantasy and fallacy, the Bible is the one true, time-tested reference point that all Christians must use to evaluate and interpret the world. It is the ultimate and absolute source for men and women to be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

The greatest need in the Church today is for people of faith to understand and live out what the Scriptures say. Believers must live and speak God’s Word – both in season and out of season. We must reprove, rebuke, and exhort with complete patience, grace, and compassion.

The way to best treat the world’s penchant for “itching ears” is not by scratching the itch, but instead to provide the healing salve of God’s Word through His son, Jesus Christ.

What do you think? Is there someone who you can share the Good News of TRUTH to today?

About John Forrest