Be Leery When Someone Says, ‘God Told Me’

Sometimes the ego deceives in an attempt to manipulate others.

Beth Bradford, Ph.D.
5 min readFeb 8


man holding staff proclaiming
Image by Jeff Jacobs from Pixabay

Joel Osteen even calls bullshit on them. Sure, he might put it more politely while broadcasting to millions of people, but he still questions those who seem to have some red phone that answers calls from God.

“[Y]ou’d think God speaks to them more than he spoke to Moses, David, Esther, Sarah combined,” Osteen said.

How often have you encountered someone who tells you that “God told them” something — and it has something to do with how you’re currently living your life? Indeed, words came down through the prophets such as Isaiah and Jeremiah about how people have fallen down the wrong path. But let’s face it, Isaiah and Jeremiah weren’t out to make themselves look better.

It always fascinates me, though, when people want to assert themselves in the lives of others. In their attempt to control, they use God’s name to subvert others. They know that guilt is a strong manipulator, weakening victims who have a conscience.

Others will say “God told me” to excuse obnoxious behavior. One politician recently told a crowd that God told her to defy the House speaker, saying he was a “demon.”

Talk about using God’s name in vain.

sculpture of Moses looking at a tablet
Image by Goran Horvat from Pixabay

In some cases, perhaps the person is trying to help another. They care for the other so deeply that perhaps God did communicate with them because they knew the other is too mired in their circumstances to have ears to hear. Love can really open doors.

In other cases, these “mystical experiences” are illusions of the ego. Pride or jealousy can disguise themselves and lead people to believe this “voice” or “vision” comes from God.

How can we tell the difference? Is it that people who believe in God are the only people who have had a mystical experience? Do visions and voices only come through the lives of those who are on the “right” path? Not always.

Sure, if you look at the faith of Moses, who led the Jews out of slavery into the desert, he…



Beth Bradford, Ph.D.

Former TV person, college professor and media researcher. Ironman triathlete, meditation teacher and yoga instructor.