As Paul goes on to tell the preacher, people will want you to scratch their itching ears, what today we might call stroking someone’s ego. And this has always been, for Old Testament Israel was bad about listening to the prophets they wanted to listen to instead of the ones who told them the truth. Ahab told Jehoshaphat, who had asked if a real prophet was anywhere around, There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of Jehovah, Micaiah the son of Imlah, but I hate him, for he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil, 1 Kgs 22:8. Funny how it never dawned on Ahab that he could fix that problem himself without touching a hair of Micaiah’s head.
I have been known to say that our society is worse about this than in the past—a bunch of namby-pambies who cannot take criticism--and maybe it is worse today than a hundred years ago, but the scriptures make it plain that God’s teachers have always had to deal with arrogant people who think they need no correction about anything at all. I suppose it will always be so. But we should do our best to make sure we are not among them because neither God nor Jesus ever had anything good to say about people like that. In fact, some of Jesus’ strongest condemnations were to people who claimed to be the most righteous. He said that their attitude of self-righteousness made them just the opposite, a brood of vipers, among other harsh accusations.
Examining ourselves and learning to do better are always in season simply because they are always necessary. I shouldn’t blame the preacher, or any other caring brother or sister, because he does as God commands when I am the one at fault.
‘Tis the season, whether we think so or not—fa,la,la,la,la--la,la,la,la!
A wonderful and a horrible thing is come to pass in the land; the prophets prophesy falsely and the priests bear rule by their means, and my people love to have it so, and what will the end thereof be?...They have healed also the hurt of my people slightly saying, “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace, Jer 5:31; 6:14.