2 Timothy 4:3-5 says: 3 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will reject the truth and chase after myths. 5 But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.
This made me think of the echo chambers we live in today. In our modern, social media and news cycle-driven society people surround themselves with others that agree with them. Christians build a network of Christians. Republicans build networks of Republicans and only watch Fox News. Democrats surround themselves with Democrats and only watch CNN. We spend our time on social media watching things we agree with. The algorithms show us more of the things we watch and like and pretty soon we begin to believe that our thoughts and feelings are right and they are the only way to think even when they deviate from scripture. In Paul’s day, there were false teachers but in today’s society, those false teachers came come not just from the pulpit but through social media and influencers that are misguided or operating under an entirely different agenda. In fact, false teachers and false information surrounds us and confuses us to the point it can be challenging to know what to believe or who to follow.
In all of this chaos, it is certainly more comfortable to be with your tribe. To spend time surrounded by people that affirm our views and agree with our perspectives than it is to challenge and be challenged but is it right? We don’t like to be challenged. This is very true of political views and it may be even more true with religious views. We surround ourselves with leaders and teachers that share the perspectives that we believe in and agree with. Things that make us comfortable and make us feel right or morally superior. The question that we have to ask though is are those things of God? I would argue that in our current society that too many churches have politicized their preaching. They are bending the teaching of scripture to try to support political topics even when it may be taking those. I would also argue that so much of what our society is battling over through politics can easily be solved through truly analyzing scripture and looking at the teachings of Jesus. Unfortunately, we have a problem in our society. There is a lot of false teaching and we have a good portion of our population that has never read or experienced the true Word of God. This is true of both Christians and non-Christians and that makes things cloudy and confusing because so many operate on unfounded opinions and hearsay about Christians and about Jesus.
I think it is important today to be more careful than ever about preventing false teachers and influences from polluting our minds. If we allow social media and algorithms to shape our thinking we can see all sorts of themes emerge. We begin to believe that abortion is ok, sex is a hobby, marriage is temporary, Christians are evil, homeless people aren’t important, immigrants aren’t people and so much more. We begin to believe the world is here to cater to and serve us and our needs, and so much more. On top of that, we start to believe that anyone that isn’t like us is the enemy. That every one that believes something different is a horrible person. That everyone is trying to scam everyone. That Christians are evil. We are told that everything is a conspiracy and so on.
It is honestly crazy! The world we live in blows my mind and so do Christians. The Bible doesn’t explicitly address every issue in our society but it doesn’t have to because it gives us the greatest commandments which are to love God and love people. From there, we can find a way to interpret just about any issue. We can use this same measure to help us ferret out false teachers and false truths. Like the verses suggest, this will help us reject these non-truths and myths. We also can’t be afraid to do what is right even if it goes against the grain of society. That may mean stepping out or speaking out against things. It may mean choosing what is right instead of doing what is easy. It may mean a lot of things but as Christians, it is up to us to know the Word of God and to do what is right even when it stretches us or makes us uncomfortable. Many people around the world have died for Jesus and are still dying for Jesus.
We have to do better and be better. We have to lean into the teachings of Scripture. We have to teach it to our children and we have to live it daily. We can’t allow agendas or echo chambers to guide us. The key is to really know and live scripture. I am not saying it is easy but if we do this it sure solves a lot of the problems in our lives and if Christians do it at scale it also solves a lot of problems in our society. It won’t be without its difficulties but like these verses suggest we can’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Instead, we should be thankful for the opportunity to know and suffer for Christ.