It is a typical weeknight in the Clarke house. I am sitting in my easy chair unwinding from the day and its events. My dog comes over to me and wants to be petted. Sometimes, I begin to scratch his ears. Would you believe that he is the happiest dog on the face of the earth at that moment? However, when I stop he turns back and glares at me. You see, while I was scratching his ears, everything was just fine. The moment I stopped doing and giving him what he wanted, there was a problem.
In our religious world, we have a lot of people scratching ears. Now I am not calling the people of this world dogs, nor do I mean for this article to offend anyone that reads it. I am not name calling. I am fact stating. We need to consider whether or not what we are hearing from our teachers and preachers matches up with what the Bible says. Paul warned Timothy about the very subject we are discussing: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;” (2 Timothy 4:2-3).
Can I ask a simple, but serious question? If it does not matter what we are taught, believe, or what we hear, then why did the Holy Spirit tell Paul that it did? The very saddest thing that a religious group can do is to say that ____________ does not really matter. “It’s ok if you don’t come to church every time the doors are open.” “Oh no, the Bible does not truly condemn homosexuality.” “I know you are pregnant, but you are only sixteen years old, this will ruin your life. Get an abortion.”
The thing that breaks my heart so much is that these are common doctrines, not just taught by the world but, in certain cases, the church! How many people will be doomed to a life of eternal punishment and torment because of bad advice? Satan, in the Garden of Eden, definitely scratched ears. “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” (Genesis 3:6, emphasis added).
When Eve heard the Devil’s claim at the beginning of Genesis 3, she corrected him. The Devil had suggested that God was restricting them from eating any tree in the garden. “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’” Her reply is what made the Devil change his approach. He then told her that she would be like God, knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:5). Satan told her what she wanted to hear. Just as my dog wanted his ears scratched.
Friend, I want to impress upon our minds that what we say and how we say it matters. We must consider that our influence in the Lord’s church can do a lot of good, or it can do a lot of harm. To the leaders in this congregation, we must make sure that we are studious in God’s Word so that when we are asked a question, we can give the individual a “Thus saith the Lord”!
If you are scratching ears, I must ask: Who are you really helping? The individual that you tell what you think will at times take that very doctrine and run with it. “Well, our deacon said, or our elders say, or our preacher said.” It is time that we ask: “What did the Lord say.” Friends, quit scratching ears.