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The Vindication Syndrome

written by Asher Intrater
May 01, 2001

Over the years we have seen many situations where we “Messianics” or “Charismatics” have caused damage or division to the body of Messiah by inflating personal problems to prophetic dimensions.

In the Gospel of Luke we find a situation where Yeshua was traveling to Jerusalem and the disciples saw that the people in the Samaritan villages did not receive Yeshua, and they became offended.

Luke 9:53-55

But they did not receive Him since His face was set towards to Jerusalem. When James and John, His disciples saw this, they said, “Lord, is it your will that we command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But He turned to them and rebuked them saying, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of.”

The reason that the Samaritans did not receive Yeshua at this time was not so much because they were rejecting Him, but rather because Yeshua had another purpose at this time that the disciples did not understand.

  1. Personal Rejection

Many times as we serve the Lord our ministry is not received. In the context of the situation, we feel rejected. However, it is important for us not to interpret every situation as a personal rejection. A weak leader (as demonstrated by the disciples) becomes personally offended by every ministry rejection. The strong leader (as demonstrated by Yeshua) brushes off the situation by seeing the rejection as not relevant to the particular assignment that God has given him at that time.

Sometimes when we seem to be rejected, it is because God has a different purpose in mind.

In this case it was not even the disciples who were rejected, but their leader. Weak believers become offended not only when they are rejected, but even when one of the leaders they feel loyal to is rejected. They become offended by a “third party” rejection. Sometimes we even cover up a sense of personal rejection by taking up an “offense” for Yeshua Himself or for the sake of the Kingdom of God. But actually we are just responding immaturely.

  1. Prophetic Indignation

As we try to cover up our personal hurts and anger, we sometimes interpret our feelings as righteous prophetic fire. We demand punishment of the sinners around us. This can be very deceptive, particularly when we are responding to something that has hurt us. We can tell that this is deception instead of true prophetic indignation because our demands for justice all revolve around the fact that people have rejected “me”. Therefore they have to repent. They rejected my calling. They rejected God whose hand is upon my ministry.

There is no concern for the poor or weak here, but really just a response to my own rejection that is now painted in super spiritual terms. We say that we are trying to protect the weak sheep around us. But this is phony because the thing that we say is hurting the sheep boils down to the fact that my ministry has been rejected, and that the weak sheep need me to protect them. In this case the disciples wanted to call fire down in the style of Elisha the prophet (2 Kings 1).

At this point we begin to receive all kinds of “confirming” prophecies. These prophecies are usually not from the people who have the governing spiritual authority involved in the case. Sometimes a true prophetic word is interpreted and applied incorrectly in order to justify our position. Every circumstance becomes a confirmation. It rained during my meeting, which means the spirit was being poured out. It was cloudy the next day during their meeting which means the spiritual skies are darkened and closed over them.

III. Psychic Revenge

At this point Satan begins to work on our imagination to blow everything up out of proportion. The other people are demonized in our eyes. Wherever we have some kind of psychological damage in our character, satanic spirits can build up those personal rejections into huge dimensions.

We then begin to utter prophesies in which God will punish the other people. This is not really a prophesy but a psychic manipulation. We don’t realize that we subconsciously need something wrong to happen to those who rejected us in order to “prove” that God is on our side. This is very dangerous because we then work toward seeing those destructive prophesies fulfilled.

We end up in a demonic trap in which we are using our own psychic energy to bring about a spiritual revenge on other believers. This is tantamount to witchcraft, and we think we are doing it to protect the honor of Yeshua. Our actions begin to undermine the other’s ministry in a kind of self fulfilling prophecy. We are psychologically hurt. Our imagination is inflamed. We are interpreting the situation “prophetically”. But actually we are causing destruction and division.

Ironically, this can happen often to people who think they have a prophetic calling to bring others in the body of Messiah to repentance. Yeshua’s disciples in Luke 9 thought they were demanding righteous repentance. We need to be careful not to fall into this dangerous, deceptive cycle which starts with a personal rejection, is covered up as prophetic indignation, and ends up operating in psychic revenge.

Asher serves as president of Tikkun Global family of ministries and congregations, dedicated to the dual restoration of Israel and the Church. He is founder of the Revive Israel five-fold ministry team, and oversees both Ahavat Yeshua and Tiferet Yeshua congregations in Israel.

He and his wife Betty share a passion for personal prayer and devotion, local evangelism and discipleship in Hebrew, and unity of the Body of believers worldwide.

Asher was raised in a conservative Jewish home and holds degrees from Harvard University, Baltimore Hebrew College and Messiah Biblical Institute. He has authored numerous books, tracts and articles.

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