Itching Ear Syndrome

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.” (2 Timothy 3:1–5, NIV 1984). 

“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3–4, NIV 1984). 

My Musings – I’ve written blogs on these verses before.  More than once.  But they haunt me.  I remember when I was young, listening to grown-ups talk about this, thinking it must be something reserved for the far future.  For I was growing up in America.  A “Christian” nation.  Perhaps the only nation to have ever made that claim so boldly.  We had values,  Judeo-Christian values, questioned only by a few.  Even those with no serious religious affiliation clung to them.  Sure there were evil people in the land.  All cultures have them, but by-in-large these values were not seriously questioned or threatened.

The times they are a changing.  The things that I thought were reserved for the distant future are displacing those values.  To be sure there are certain evils that are still nearly universally condemned, but the boundaries are growing fuzzier all the time.  The crisp distinction between black and white is graying.  What is right and what is wrong is no longer absolute, but relative.   And the leader of my Sunday morning adult Bible fellowship (us old-timers still call it Sunday School on occasion) had this to say about the current state of affairs, “as our culture changes, we’re running out of sins.”  Running out as our culture re-defines them, when in reality we creating new ways to disobey God’s moral standards every day.

Jesus said, that at the end of the age it will be like it was in the days of Noah, “where every inclination was only evil, all the time.”  Clearly we are not there yet, but the Ark is headed in that direction and picking up steam.  The sad difference being, I think that the people of Noah’s day probably knew that what they were doing was evil.  There were not as “advanced” as we were to know that all you have to do is change the rules.

My Advice – Jesus also said, “see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen.”  (Matthew 24:6, NIV 1984).  Must happen.  The certain fate of a fallen world that for the most part has rejected God’s solution to our sin problem.  Not alarmed.  Who is “you?”  Those who have not rejected God’s solution.  He’s coming for us.  In the meantime, we must be a light that shines even brighter in a ever increasing world that is going dark.