Beware Our Itching Ears

itching ears

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. 2 Timothy 4:3-4

I think the wording of “itching ears” is fascinating here. In the NRSV, this verse is translated, “having their ears tickled.” Both “itching” and “tickled” indicate our human desire to want to hear those things that please us and those things that sound good to us. Today we call this phenomenon “confirmation bias.” We tend to seek out, listen to and follow those words that are in line with our own thinking.

But St. Paul warns us that such words may not be in line with God and his will. The message of the Gospel is hard to hear at times. It involves acknowledging our sins. It requires the sacrifice of the Son of God. It means persecution in one form or another for believers in an unbelieving world.

But the Gospel is truly Good News for us, even if it is not as appealing as other messages might seem at first. All other salvation claims are myths. Only the Gospel message that we are saved from sin and death through the death and resurrection of Christ is the truth that we claim with all our hearts, souls and minds and faithfully listen to with eager and ready ears.

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