Because false prophets are so often emotionally immature, unbalanced, or even unhinged, they do tend to engage in spiteful, vindictive behavior when crossed, if they are in a position to do so. I once knew a prophet who was asked to speak at a prominent Chicago megachurch, a prospect which excited him very much. They gave him the mid-week service, which is often done to test out a new speaker. He preached his heart out, and the church loved it. This prompted, what seemed to him at that moment, a spontaneous act of generosity by the prophet who led that church:
He told the audience that he was taking a special offering ‘just for the man of God,’ and spent a few minutes exhorting the audience to really bless the guest speaker. They did. This pastor said he was inwardly praising God, because there was soon a large pile of money on the stage, and he had bills due. It may have been $10,000 or more. Before the offering was even complete, two deacons escorted the guest speaker to the pastor’s office.
The apostle (and prophet) who led that church soon met him at the office. He opened his Bible, and took out a pre-written check for $1000 and handed it to him. He kept the rest of the offering. When the guest speaker was invited again the following Sunday, this deceptive charade happened again, exactly the same way. The guest speaker didn’t protest, but recounted the story in book chapter titled ‘Deceit.’ He never mentioned the leader’s name, or even the city in which it happened.
However, when the leader of that megachurch, who is widely and highly regarded not just as a prophet, but as an authority on all things prophetic, read the book and of course recognized the story. He immediately blackballed the guest speaker, who then suddenly found his speaking calendar quite empty. Not long after, this preacher met with that megachurch leader to apologize for slandering him.
Now, some of you may agree that writing about what happened was slander, but the dictionary tells us otherwise:
the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation.
Therefore, what the guest preacher had done in his book was not slander, for two reasons. First, it was true. Second, in print, it’s called libel. You may now understand that the reason such stories are not often made public is that, even when names have not been named, the perpetrators of such vile deceit will retailiate vindictively. Given how Scripture repeatedly exhorts us to be merciful, to administer correction in love, and to restore those who stumble in meekness (Galatians 6:1), I believe we can safely conclude that vindictiveness is not the fruit of the Spirit, and should alert us to deeper underlying issues at work.