The apostle Paul warned Timothy that he would encounter people with an ailment he called “itching ears” (2 Tim. 4:3). Those who have this condition reject “sound doctrine” and look for teaching that suits “their own desires.”
For example, if they’re offended by Christ’s declaration, “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn. 14:6), they flock to a pastor who says there are many ways to God.
Or some people reject the biblical teaching that those who engage in sexual relationships outside of marriage are “fornicators and adulterers” whom “God will judge” (Heb. 13:4). So they look for a teacher who says that the sexual standards in the Bible are not binding in today’s world.
I deplore what these people do, but I’m afraid that I too have “itching ears.” I love to hear strong affirmations of biblical standards and sound doctrine. But I don’t like to be confronted with Scripture about prideful, self-righteous attitudes or lack of love for others.
Undoubtedly, all of us have this malady. We need to ask the Lord to search our hearts and forgive us. He can change us so that we will listen to what His Word says and obey it. That’s the only antidote for “itching ears.”
Master, speak, and make me ready,
When Thy voice is truly heard,
With obedience glad and steady,
Still to follow every word. —Havergal
Obeying the truth is the remedy for itching ears.