For the past week, various social media outlets have been posting negative stories about Joel Osteen and his supposed negligence in opening his doors to the Lakewood Church for Hurricane Harvey victims. I am simply amazed at the amount of hatred spewing out of people’s mouths, the mean things they are saying about him and making negative comments about him, his family, his religion and his church without having firsthand facts about what really happened there. But I have a lot to say about it, and none of it negative, because it is my decision to stand up for this man and say some things that need to be said. I’m sure I’ll ruffle some feathers by what I’m going to say, and that’s okay. I don’t expect to make everyone happy nor do I expect people to believe everything that I do.
The thing that I most want to start with is this…if you have never been in or suffered through a hurricane or the aftermath of one, you really should keep your mouth shut about what should or should not happen, or what people should or should not do. I have been….many times, and I know what I’m talking about. The damage left in their wake can be, and is, devastating. What you see on television or in the news is not even comparable to the real thing. I was just telling my friend, Lisa Bonnell, last night about a hurricane I was in that will forever be imprinted in my brain. I couldn’t have been more than 4 years old at the time. We lived in a trailer and were being evacuated. But there was my dad, wading through waist-high water, calling out for our dog, Tramp. I can still see my daddy fighting his way through high winds and continuously building water just to save our family pet. When we returned home from the shelter, ours was 1 of about 4 trailers left standing! One of the first things you learn NOT to do once the hurricane has passed is to go outside. To do so is extremely dangerous. Uprooted trees, standing water (and you don’t know what’s under that water, ie: metal, broken glass, live power lines, etc). Therefore, you should remain inside until areas have been cleared by authorized people, such as police officers and the fire department.
I keep seeing posts where it is alleged that Pastor Osteen only opened his doors after being publicly shamed to do so. I couldn’t disagree more. I think he made a smart choice and here’s why I think so. Even if only the ground floor was flooded (which it was and I will post the pictures to prove it), the rain continued to fall heavily, which means more flooding. More flooding means waters rise and can easily make their way up to the next floor. To allow people inside a structure under those conditions is not only dangerous, but not a very smart move, because that would be endangering their lives even more. Hypothetically, let’s just say that people were allowed in under these conditions. Not only are they being exposed to possible contagions (dirty water with possible feces, dead animals, mosquito larva, etc.), but what happens when someone drowns or gets electrocuted because of live wires or an electrical shortage? I’ll tell you what will happen. Lawsuits, that’s what. Then Pastor Osteen would continue to be blamed for “doing the right thing.”
I don’t want to say that I’ve argued this point with others this week because I don’t argue; however, I will stand up for what I believe in, even if that means sounding like a smart mouth or ticking someone off. Sorry, but I don’t back down, not from anyone. When I’m firm in my beliefs, I will not be budged. So yes, I have had my say. Some of the arguments I’ve encountered about the church not being flooded include the fact that a picture was taken in the church parking lot with about 4 cats in it. While that may be true, I have yet to find a copy of that photo, and believe me, I have searched. What’s more is the fact that said photo could have been taken months or even years before Hurricane Harvey. It astounds me at the number of people who will take a story or a photo at face value without researching its history or searching for facts to either prove or disprove the information. What I DID find were photos of the flooded ground floor. Here they are (although I’m sure there will be those who will argue that these are fake):
Now I ask you….would YOU want to stay somewhere where these conditions were right beneath you with the possibility of rising to your level?? I certainly wouldn’t.
Another argue is the fact that he could have opened the church doors anyway! Not so, says the American Red Cross.
You can’t just “open your doors and take people in” because others think you should! Have you forgotten about all of the incidents at the Superdome following Hurricane Katrina? Without adequate security and supplies, what’s the use of opening? I actually read a post by someone last night (no names, because I refuse to call out people like that or embarrass anyone intentionally) who stated that, “he (Pastor Osteen) should have bypassed the regulations and opened his doors anyway!” Are you freaking kidding me??? In other words, he should disobey the law and subject himself to the possibility of arrest, and allow people inside a structure that had not been cleared for evacuees?? What kind of logic is that? I wish someone would explain that to me because I sure don’t understand that way of thinking. The sad thing is, it really wouldn’t matter because he will continue to be slammed and bashed no matter what he does.
I have seen posts referring to him as a scam artist and a false prophet, both of which I disagree with.
scam–artist. Noun. (plural scam artists) A person who attempts to defraud others by presenting a fraudulent offer and pretending that it is legitimate; a con artist.
In religion, a false prophet is one who falsely claims the gift of prophecy or divine inspiration, or who uses that gift for evil ends. Often, someone who is considered a “true prophet” by some people is simultaneously considered a “false prophet” by others, even within the same religion as the “prophet” in question. The term is sometimes applied outside religion to describe someone who fervently promotes a theory that the speaker thinks is false. – Wikipedia
Some people seem to be angry or resentful toward him because he’s wealthy, accusing him of feeding off of his congregation. Apparently, some people are under the impression that Pastor Osteen founded this church, but that assumption is quite wrong.
Most of his fortunes don’t even come from the church. In fact, he doesn’t even accept a salary! He was already wealthy, even before he became the Senior Pastor. Just one of his books alone, #1 on the New York Times Bestselling List, made millions upon millions of dollars. Think I’m exaggerating?? I’m not!
https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/55044.Joel_Osteen – This is a list of all of his books.
It’s okay for a professional athlete to sign multi-million dollar contracts or a celebrity to make $50 million for a movie, but let a preacher get wealthy from writing self-help books that inspire others, and he’s automatically a scam artist or a disgrace to God.
I wanted to throw this little tidbit of information out there as well. I found it quite interesting to read…perhaps you will, too.
It is my own humble opinion that if the ones who are so negative about so many things would exert that same amount of energy into building others up, perhaps there wouldn’t be so much hatred being spread around nowadays.
And I will close with this…..
Matthew 7:1-3King James Version (KJV)
7 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Until next time…..
Take care and God bless!!