When you have an itch, you want to scratch it. You have learned that scratching an itch usually relieves the itchy sensation. The apostle Paul wrote about itching ears in 2 Timothy 4:2-4 “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” There will be people with itching ears – ears that want to be “scratched” with what they want to hear so that their hearts will be pleased and satisfied. People will go after teachers that tell them things that are pleasing to their ears but the things they tell them are not sound doctrine.
It seems that if you search, you will find someone who will preach and teach almost any doctrine. Most people want to be rich and be blessed financially. There are those who preach a “prosperity gospel”. The prosperity gospel is a belief by some that financial blessing and physical well-being are always the will of God for them, and that faith, positive speech, and donations to religious causes will increase one’s material wealth. The prosperity gospel views the Bible as a contract between God and humans: if humans have faith in God, He will deliver security and prosperity (Wikipedia). To me, this sounds like an itching ear situation. People want to be told that God will give them financial blessings and physical well-being. Is it any wonder that there are large churches with rich leaders that teach this doctrine? It is not my purpose here to refute this doctrine, but suffice it to say that God does want to bless you, but the blessings are primarily spiritual. Ephesians 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”
Another false doctrine is that Jesus accepts you in your continued sexual immorality. There are those who teach that you can continue as a homosexual or as an adulterer or a fornicator and God will accept you. Any marital situation is alright; any lifestyle is acceptable. Again, this sounds to me like an itching ear problem. People want to be told that they can continue in their sexual immorality. Is it any wonder that there are large churches that follow these doctrines? But God hates sexual immorality. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”
The examples given above are just a small sample of unsound doctrines that people with itching ears will follow. The problem is that many people do not have a love of the truth. The apostle Paul wrote about some who didn’t love the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” When one really loves the truth, he will seek for the truth and accept it into his life regardless of the consequences. He values the truth above any pleasure falsehood might provide. When one does not love the truth, God will send a strong delusion that he should believe a lie. When he searches, he will find someone who will tell him what he wants to hear.
The approach to follow is what the apostle Paul taught. 2 Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” Proclaim the truth. Be ready at all times to stand up for the truth. Seek to convince others of the truth. Rebuke those who reject the truth. Exhort those who have the truth to remain steadfast in the truth. Have patience and be longsuffering. Do not give up your stand for the truth or your attempts to influence others to accept and follow the truth.
The truth is very important. John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” He stated in John 18:37b “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Jesus brought the truth to the world. The writers of the New Testament wrote the truth. It is the truth that sets you free. John 8:31-32 “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’” My encouragement to you is to love the truth. Seek the truth and when you find it, hold on to it and follow it. Determine in your heart to never have itching ears to be turned away from the truth.