Following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in the Houston and Louisiana area, Joel Osteen and Lakewood Church received massive backlash for not opening the doors of the church as a shelter for hurricane victims. Lakewood Church, previously home to the Houston Rockets, sits 16,000 people and is located in the western part of the city. Social media began criticizing the megachurch because the doors were closed days after Hurricane Harvey hit the city.
There have been a lot of opinions on social media about the pastor, calling him a fraud, false prophet, a scam, and a liar, just to name a few. The pastor has now become a meme, and many people have been quick to point out his net worth and annual budget as incriminating evidence for how bad his response has been. On Monday, the church issued a statement that the building was not accessible and claimed that water was close to the top of their flood gates. On Tuesday, Lakewood officially opened the doors of the church, and offered relief. The pastor then released another statement that said the church did not open because the city had not asked them to shelter victims.
I have no idea what the real truth is behind why Pastor Osteen did not open his church. It could be that there were safety concerns, or there was not enough manpower to handle refugees, or the public may be right. Either way, it doesn’t matter. Regardless of how a person may feel about megachurches and their pastors, it is important to remember the bigger issue is HOUSTON. At the end of the day, hurricane victims are still without clean drinking water, and will have to rebuild for years. In my opinion, the amount of energy that has been spent judging and condemning Pastor Joel Osteen would have been better spent donating time and money to helping the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Instead of posting a link to an article entitled why “Joel Osteen’s Harvey Excuses are Bogus,” post a link to the Compassion Campaign. The more we make Joel Osteen memes a priority, the more we take away from relief help for hurricane victims. Stop detracting from the bigger issue.
For any Christians who believe that their negative opinion is valid:
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured unto you.”
– Luke 6:37-42