How to Deal with Manipulative Christians (who sometimes prophesy)

by Sep 14, 2023Christian Ethics, Spiritual Gifts, Spiritual Growth0 comments

  • Know your boundaries. Boundaries are guidelines, or limits that a person creates to identify for the person what are reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave around them. In light of the doctrine of soul competency, remember God’s expectation of personal responsibility in the gospel. When it comes to prophecy and manipulation we must own the fact that receiving a word comes with responsibility. God wants us to judge the word, with the help of His Spirit in a Gospel-preaching community with other believers. It is up to us, in the power of the Spirit, to not be manipulated and this begins by defining good boundaries so we know when someone has gone too far. Manipulation has a boundary-crossing aspect. It will covertly lure a person to let down their guard and dismiss personal boundaries in the name of God. Most people don’t know their boundaries until they’ve been crossed and most people who cross our boundaries do so innocently. Boundaries are like the gospel, people don’t know unless someone tells them. Boundaries are meant to protect us, yet we have to share them with others. 

Most of us can recognize the evil in manipulating others with malice. But someone …may justify evil actions by the supposed good it will eventually bring. The outcome makes no difference – an individual is deceived when he or she uses manipulation, even for the supposed welfare of others. Unfortunately, many believe they are justified in their actions because they claim “it’s for the greater good” of the church. Their logic may sound spiritual, even unselfish, in their own distorted way of thinking. But do not be deceived. Manipulation comes from a wrong spirit. It does not reflect submission to God’s authority and order… manipulation by anyone grieves the Holy Spirit.” [1]   – John Paul Jackson 

  • Be prepared to disengage and even “nope out” if necessary. You will not miss God’s best. Disengaging from bad practices is evidence you’re seeking His best and not just a cheap imitation. Disengage may sound like you’re baptized in vinegar but it is an expression of the fruit of self-control. If you’re unsure about a word or how it was delivered. If something feels off and you’re uneasy about an interaction during ministry time. You have the right to step back. If someone tries to get a particular emotional response from you, choose not to give it to them. This does not mean you reject the word. You can still go back and test the word later. For example, if a manipulative minister is known to give flattering words and then ask for an overreaching favor, don’t play along—rather, decline politely and move the conversation along. Disengaging is not quenching the Spirit. It is just stepping back and keeping your wits about you, like Paul asks us to in 1 Thess 5:20-21.

The tendency to engage in counterfeit spiritual authority is something we must all overcome. The beginning of our deliverance is simply to recognize what these forms of manipulation really are—sin. If we are going to have a valid ministry and walk in true spiritual authority, we must be delivered from this corruption.” [3]   – Rick Joyner

  • Be confident in Christ. Sometimes, prophetic manipulation may include one person’s attempt to claim a curse will rest on someone if they leave a particular ministry or someone will be stripped of their anointing if they don’t follow a certain prophetic word. Such words are justified by claims to God’s authority or visions of coming demonic activity in someone’s life. Such things can make someone doubt the wisdom of God that created them, their abilities, their intuition, or even the way they see reality. In short, that is spiritual gaslighting. Our culture sets us up for this kind of gaslighting. Individualism is the incubator for confidence in the flesh. Those in the West  develop  in a cultural atmosphere that teaches us to approach life in our own strength while calling it reliance on God. Our individualistic culture trains us to live by our own self-made identity. We draw our strength from our past accomplishments and future hope for personal glory and success. Such people, for all their shows of strength, can be the easiest to gaslight and even easier to manipulate. So learn the ancient path that leads to life in Christ. Find your life hidden in Christ and receive the identity He gives you by faith. When you experience covert pressure and confusing prophecies it will help to remind you of your place in the Gospel story, and stick to your story as Jesus tells it. Remember who God thinks you are in Christ. However, if such spiritual gaslighting and harassment continues, then it could be time to leave that church or ministry. 


  • Address the situation. Call out the manipulative behavior as it’s happening. This should be done to the level of relationship you have with the person as well as being sensitive to the setting you find yourself in. It may also help you reach a resolution while emphasizing that their tactics won’t work on you. In most cases, tactics have been caught, not taught and are the product of the person’s personal history. They are no more a sinner than you, just different sins. Jesus loves them like He loves you. In the Gospel, we are called not to return anger for anger but trade in our hurt feelings and frustrations for compassionate understanding love. That kind of deep abiding love that won you over, got in your marrow and changed you from inside out. Jesus promises it is a great return on your investment.  Also You should try to stay on-topic. Don’t start with an accusation. “I feel” statements are a good entry point. When you point out a behavior that makes you feel manipulated, the other person may try to minimize the situation or muddle the situation. People can be shifty and will bring up other issues as a distraction. Remember your main point and stick to that. Keep the focus on how the other person’s actions and words are affecting you. 

The degree to which we get free from the tendency to manipulate will likely be the degree to which we are entrusted with the true power and gifts of the Lord. If we want to know the authentic power of God, we must get rid of all the other props and learn to lean only on our Beloved.” [3]   – Rick Joyner



[1]  John Paul Jackson, Unmasking the Jezebel Spirit (Flower Mound, Streams Pub, 2001) 113

[2] Rick Joyner, Prophetic Ministry (Charlotte, Morning star Pub 1997), 91

[3] Rick Joyner, Prophetic Ministry (Charlotte, Morning star Pub 1997), 91