What to Do When a Prophet Misguides You

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Have you ever been thrown into an unwanted situation that forces you to become the solution to someone else's crisis? I think most of us have at one point or the other.

Mine went something like this: "And remember, Andy, before you finish speaking tonight to my congregation, speak a positive word that this specific investment will come through and turn around."

Gulp. I swallowed hard, and my throat knotted up as I reminded myself to breathe.

This pastor was in "hot water" with his congregation, and I was being told why just minutes before I spoke in his church. The pastor had made a "too-good-to-be-true" investment, saw the quick turnarounds and then began convincing people within his flock one by one to invest as well. And boy, did some people invest deeply.

He's happy; they're happy. Everyone's happy, right? No.

All was well until the truth came out that the investment wasn't going to end well. The company was fraudulent, and this once-trusted pastor—who loved his sheep and had great intention to bless them—just lead most of his church right into a financial disaster. Now, seconds before my mic was turned on, he wanted me to be the "voice of God," giving his sheep one last glimmer of hope right before everything collapsed.

I gave them hope that night, laced with truth—and not a false sense of comfort. I shared with them how I lost a lot of money in a bad investment deal years ago, and it was one of the best tragedies for me because it taught me how to hear God better and be patient. I talked about how that bad deal mostly taught me how to combat greed. It was long after that day when, just as we all expected, the investments at that church fell apart, and a lot of people were hurt.

I didn't do what that pastor wanted me to because it wasn't honest. There are many stories out there that, unfortunately, went the other way. If I could listen to many of you right now, you'd be able to tell me "prophetic horror stories" from when you heard a prophecy over your life, believed it, acted on it—and then it never happened.

Some of those prophecies may have been so far off that they were just flat-out false. Unfortunately, that "prophet" could even be someone you love and trust and whose words have been accurate for many years.

So What Happened to Your Prophecy?

I'll tell you exactly what happened. Either the minister heard God and didn't speak it accurately and clearly, or they didn't hear God correctly. Or if he heard God, then you may have misunderstood them. Sometimes we are so desperate for hope and a "now word" that we will take anything that is said and twist it around to become something it's not. The danger about prophecy is that it's always in part and never completely understood by the giver or receiver.

"For we know in part, and we prophesy in part" (1 Cor. 13:9).

Communication can be a big problem. Sometimes the one giving the prophecy doesn't speak it out accurately or can give it in such a way that it's vague or open-ended.

On the other side of the prophecy is the receiver. Maybe we didn't hear it clearly or tried to add more into what the person actually said. This can easily happen. I'm not attempting to protect false prophets by any means, but sometimes God-given prophecies get botched because of the tongue and the ears. Never because of God—He doesn't give botched prophecies.

What to Do After a 'Bad Prophecy' Falls to the Ground

When you are given a prophecy that you believe to be wrong or misleading, obviously, you should pray about it, receive proper counsel, and maybe even go back to the minister who gave you the prophecy to ask them personally what went wrong. Sometimes it honestly is just a misunderstanding of the wording or timing. Occasionally, the prophecy is a false one. In this case, the minister needs to repent.

When we encounter a false prophecy, let's look at it from this perspective.

LEARN: This is a golden lesson to learn from.

The golden lesson is that now we have an opportunity to hear the word of the Lord ourselves, which is probably one of the most powerful tools we can ever carry through life. Let's face it, how many times have we reached out for the next "prophetic now-word" before reading our Bible or praying? We've all been there at one point. God wants us to seek Him first—not take second place to a prophetic word.

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be given to you" (Matt. 6:33).

GROW: It's a golden gem to guide us long-term.

Regardless of what we want to believe, the grass isn't greener on the other side. Prophecy is never a destiny into a utopia—a problem-free place. If most of us reading this landed on a million dollars tomorrow, many would still be miserable just one year later.

But God loves us too much to watch us destroy our lives. Troubles will come our way regardless of how many positive prophetic words we have received the past year. We cannot treat prophecies as the sustaining hope designed to catapult us out of our current life situation.

"Let your lives be without love of money, and be content with the things you have. For He has said: 'I will never leave you, nor forsake you'" (Heb. 13:5).

One of the most profound truths we will ever discover within the kingdom of God is learning to be content.

The Better Life is Only Found in Him

If you want a better life, don't try to find it by chasing after the next prophetic word; instead, discover God's golden gems through a divine yet personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He will take you on a new journey, a time in your life when you learn to hear, listen and trust Jesus so much more. As we grow, we will choose to believe that God can speak to us through many different avenues—and we will decide to listen. We will live more like Him.

Andy Sanders has been involved with writing and book publishing since 1999. He is a prolific writer with a leadership-type message to the church. He coaches and assists writers through the publishing process and works at CS Book Design. Andy has a B.A. from Evangel University and a master's and doctorate in Christian education from Freedom Seminary, graduating with honors. He and his wife, Cathy, reside near Daytona Beach, Florida.

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