Millionaire televangelist Joel Osteen drew criticism when he posted on Facebook that his Lakewood church would not be accessible to Hurricane Harvey flood victims due to rising water levels.
However, after criticism and questions regarding his megachurch's closed doors, he opened the church to displaced citizens in Houston.
Now, at his first televised sermon since Hurricane Harvey, he said that the suffering implicated on the victims is a “compliment” from God, who sees the survivors as tough enough to “handle it.” He further vowed that God would “pay back” victims for what they lost.
“We’re not going to understand everything that happens, but having a ‘poor old me mentality’ or ‘look what I lost’ or ‘why did this happen,’ y’know that’s just going to pull you down. God won’t allow it unless he has a purpose for it,” he said. “We may not see it at the time, but that’s what faith is all about,” he said.
He also said, “The reason it may seem like God is not waking up is not because he’s ignoring you, not because he’s uninterested, it’s because he knows you can handle it.”
He further said having faith will “allow” God to “turn situations around” and also told the victims not to have a “victim mentality.”
“So let’s don’t have a victim mentality, let’s have a restoration mentality. Lord, we thank you that you’re going to pay back what belongs to us,” he further said.
During the sermon, he also targeted his critics who lamented him for his late response on the storm.
“It’s easy for somebody from a distance to make judgments without having all the information. Some people that don’t have the facts and people who don’t want to have the facts will continue to try to stir things up,” he said.
While responding to his late response, Osteen earlier said, “I don’t know if [the criticism] is unfounded, but I think if people were here they’d realize there were safety issues.
This building had flooded before, and so we were just being precautious. The main thing is the city didn't ask us to become a shelter.”
Banner / Thumnail : Reuters