BITTERNESS IN THE CHURCH – Part 2

Bitter Prophets usually vent their anger on  innocent Christians. This is also why many become prideful. In trying to prove their calling, pride is usually what sets in. When he is corrected, he feels resisted because of experiences, he forces his way through pride. That is because he trusts no one any more.

However, the prophet must not expect that people will accept everything he says. No matter how good a prophet is, he will be rejected. When Ezekiel was called, the Lord made it clear to him that they won’t accept his word, but it will be an evidence against them. A true prophet will be rejected. But God will always vindicate him.  It is only a matter of time.

Leonard Ravenhill:

The prophet is violated during his ministry, but he is vindicated by history (Leonard Ravenhill – Picture of a Prophet)

So according to Leonard Ravenhill, the prophet is often violated during his ministry. This violation is mostly done to maturing prophets who usually serve under pastors who themselves feel threatened by the presence of the prophet whom they fear might be accorded more recognition in the church than them. That leads us to the last point I would like to make here.

3. Attack on prophets by some church leaders( mostly pastors):

Majority of pastors are not comfortable to have prophets around, especially a maturing prophet who might be far younger than them.

Remember the case of young Samuel and the high priest Eli. If it was today, perhaps Eli may have molested the young Samuel. Thank God for whom he was. Despite his weakness to control his children’s excesses, Eli was a man who knew God. In a typical church setting the pastor sees things different from the way the prophet sees it.

I read a book with the following remark on how some pastors see prophets. I have forgotten the name of the author. Forgive me please. I quote!

“To a pastor, a young prophet can appear to be a particular nuisance. When first starting their ministry, prophets seem to be negative and over critical. And because they are human they often make mistakes. The trouble is that their intolerance and insensitivity can irritate the pastor. This causes the pastor to jump on the prophet, the first time that he makes a mistake. The young prophet is often so crushed that he does not dare to prophesy again. The pastor is relieved because what appeared to be a problem is gone. What he(The Pastor) does not realize is that he has squashed a ministry that his church really needs. Because this has happened so often, there is a shortage of prophets in the church.”

Can you imagine the damage Eli would have done to the ministry of Samuel and the nation of Israel if he refused to accept the hard message God gave to him through Samuel. If Eli had rejected the message, I am sure Samuel would have lost the confidence to speak again.

Truthbetold, if it was today, Samuel would have been called a wizard by the Pastor. He would have accused Samuel of planning to kill both himself and his two sons so he could take over the church.

This type of problem most times causes serious conflict in the church. The young prophet is usually the one who carries the load of hurt and disgrace since the pastor is the one in charge and has the support of the elders in council.

Truthbetold, the attitude of many pastors has sacked many maturing prophets from the church. This has led to many of them being trained in the wilderness which makes it tougher for the maturing prophet.

I remember few years back, my pastor asked us never to say anything again in the church at all because he realized that the Lord was using myself and few others to reveal things about people that he did not have the grace to do (I am not speaking proudly here please. Just saying it the way it is).

It is sad to say that the Pastor whom we called “father”  became envious and stopped us from ever giving any prophetic word in the church.

So many prophets who go through this and cannot not let go of the hurt and end up becoming bitter. The following quote will further make my point clearer.

 Wolfgang Simson:

“Many apostles and prophets today are not in church at all, because there is little room for them in traditional pastor centred churches. They have been pushed to the side; they are often feared because they seem so strong, radical and different. Many have been not only marginalized but rejected, and as a result have given up on church almost completely, maybe with a last flicker and a spark of hope still burning in them (Wolfgang Simson – Houses That Changed the World, p.125).

I would end with the following advice for pastors from a man of God who have identified these problems so many years ago.

Tom Hamon:

“As pastors, many times the prophet ministry can understandably make us feel uncomfortable, so we don’t give place for it to function. However, often that is exactly what God has intended, because we have become stuck in a rut in our predictable, comfortable routines. There are times when God wants to break in on the scene, but we are too protective of our time or our people, or our comfort zones to allow God to really do what he wants.

“Prophets just seem to have a way of messing up our plans…. Instead of resenting this, fellow pastor, let’s appreciate it, because the good news is that when God leads prophets, they bring a powerful spirit of breakthrough with them (Tom Hamon – The Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation).

In conclusion, let me say that we cannot pretend that we have not all seen the wicked things happening in our churches today. Selfishness, arrogance, lies, ingratitude, unforgiveness have all become the order of the day.

All in all, these things cause anger and hatred which finally culminates in bitterness. We should all try to avoid them. This advice is particularly important for those in the prophetic ministry. You cannot do a proper ministry with bitterness in you.

Note the following things about bitterness.

1. Bitterness is a dangerous emotion that gives a feeling of deep hatred.

2. Bitterness is a very toxic emotion filled with both anger and hatred.

3. It is an emotion that is very destructive. It has the power to rob its victims of the good things of life including peace of mind, good health, fulfilment and other good things of life.

4. Bitter people find faults in everything as well as in everyone that comes their way. They are very hard to please. They judge everyone and condemn everything apart from themselves. Almost everything about life pisses them off.

5. Bitter people find it very hard to appreciate God’s goodness and blessing upon their lives. This is because they are so buried in bitterness they hardly see what God does for them.

6. No one is born with bitterness. We can choose to be bitter or vice versa. This means that bitterness is a choice.

7. The root cause of bitterness is unforgiveness. Bitterness feeds on the spirit of unforgiveness which has filled the life of its victim.

8. Bitter people are usually people who have taken offence over some wrong done to them by someone. They see the offence as the cause of their bitterness; but the truth of the matter is that it is their inability to forgive their offenders that created room for bitterness.

9. The only way to overcome bitterness is to always forgive, forgive and forgive those who offend us.

May the Lord give us the grace to always forgive those who offend us. Amen!

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