God is concerned for the character of the prophet as He is for the truth of His word. God is more concerned about the purity of His Prophets, than the accuracy of their prophecies: He values the men and women themselves and their motives as much as their message and ministry. There are several pitfalls, which prophets, young and old, must be careful to avoid.
1. A Critical and Harsh Spirit
Prophets have high standards. They see things in black and white. This can sometimes result in the prophet being over critical, which makes their words seem harsh, even if they are true. If we enjoy giving hard words we may have a critical spirit. If we find it easy to give negative words, then we have no understanding of the grace and goodness of God (Graham Cooke - Developing Your Prophetic Gifting p.76). Moreover we tend to judge others in the areas of our own weaknesses.
Sin produces in our heart a critical, negative spirit, which makes us despise whole categories of people. But the sin we hate the most in others, we are sensitised to by our own guilt. We are measured by our own value judgements of others, and our criticisms of them reveal what we really do not know about ourselves.
2. Frustration and bitterness
All prophets experience rejection, if their words are not always accepted and obeyed. If this happens frequently, the prophet can become frustrated, and frustration can lead to bitterness. Words spoken out of frustration and bitterness will be contaminated by these things and will not come out pure. This is one of the most serious problems faced by prophets. They must learn to deal with rejection without going into frustration and bitterness.
Prophetic people often get angry with those who do not receive their words, when the real problem is that the message was not spoken clearly. The prophetic person may have been given a truth to share, but if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, no one will respond. The hard truth for prophetic people to swallow is that an unclear word is a dead word.
Praise from friends and people who have already received the word does not mean much. We are all receptive to words that confirm our own views. The real test of a word is whether it is clear to those challenged by it. Taking rejection as a sign that a word was true is dangerous, because this is not always the case. Rejection often occurs because the word was not clear, and sometimes because it was not true. Prophets must be constantly looking at the way they presented their message. They should hone their words, so they can present a clearer warning.
Prophets usually lead lives that are extremely righteous. They can easily take on the spirit of the Pharisees, who felt good, because they could see the sins of other people. Pride is very destructive of prophetic ministry. The arrogant cannot stand in your presence (Psalm 5:5).