There’s a lot of discussion brewing around Victoria Osteen’s recent comments made on the platform of Lakewood Church. If you don’t know who she is or what Lakewood Church is, let me just tell you. She is Joel Osteen’s wife, and together they pastor a congregation in Houston that draws nearly 40,000 people every weekend; it is the largest church in our country.
Check out the video that has stirred up some controversy:
Apparently someone recorded their TV with their phone, threw that Cosby clip on there and then posted it on social media. Now, that clip is being passed around like a hot potato. It is only a few days old, and that clip is quickly approaching one million views. Here’s what bothers me about it, and I’m not even sure if the word ‘bothers’ is the right word. It’s the perceived anger, hate and judgment that seem to be oozing out of Christians toward her.
Here are some of the comments I have seen: “Victoria Osteen is a DISGRACE to the name of Jesus!” “It’s about time this FRAUD was exposed for the humanism pill pushers that she and her husband are.” “I’m so thankful this clip has come out, God will JUDGE them for the poor representatives of Christ they truly are.”
Now, I’m not agreeing with what she said – there are certainly things that she said that I don’t agree with – but for someone to say she (person/wife/mother/sinner/pastor) is a “DISGRACE” to the name of Christ is actually quite crazy to me. Maybe we have two different impressions on who Jesus is, but I don’t think He would call her a ‘DISGRACE.’ As a matter of fact, I don’t see him calling any of us a ‘DISGRACE,’ no matter what our mistake or sin may be.
He gives us GRACE, not DISGRACE, for the mistakes we make … which is what Victoria Osteen did; she made a mistake. Why can’t we acknowledge that WITHOUT calling into question her salvation, her ministry, her calling and her potential to be an effective minister to the church? Does that mistake give us the right to take her through the gauntlet of our verbal slams, criticisms and some of it is frankly hate speech?
As a public speaker, I know that sometimes you just say STUPID things in a moment where you frankly get lost and with people looking at you, you feel pushed to just keep words coming out of your mouth. And before you know it, you’ve said something very very very STUPID! I’ve done it, and EVERYONE who regularly speaks in front of other humans has done it, too.
In looking at that clip with grace, (instead of disgrace) I get what she could have been trying to say. She could have been trying to say that CHURCH is not about GOD ALONE, that God is not interested in coming into this building to be here alone. HE IS HERE BECAUSE WE ARE HERE (Matthew 18:20). The church is about GOD CONNECTING WITH HUMANITY and HUMANITY CONNECTING WITH GOD. She could have been trying to correct mindsets that may believe that church is a place where you JUST come to make God happy…by telling people that God is really interested in making you happy too, He cares THAT much about us (Psalm 112:1; Romans 15:13).
I could go on and on. My point is, sometimes we know what we want to say, but when it is delivered, it comes out totally different. Something I’m sure we can all relate to. The fact of the matter is, everyone will have critics when you step into the light or sight of other people. But, man … the church can be a scary place to mess up today. It seems like criticism from Christians on social media has become so common that as a leader you can feel like Daniel in the lion’s den. I’m saddened by that.
I believe we are better than that. I believe we can make mistakes in the body of Christ and not be eaten alive by our own (Galatians 5:15). Again, not justifying what was said, but let’s have some grace for each other (Colossians 4:6). I believe our criticisms can come out from a place of love and prayer, yet still be promoting unity in the church (Ephesians 4:29) and true AGAPE LOVE toward brothers and sisters in Christ who make mistakes. As Christians, we’re dripping with the grace God gives us (Ephesians 2:8-9). I am a sinner who sins (1 John 1:8) and by God’s grace and kindness, I find my faults, I repent and become free (Romans 2:4). It just doesn’t make sense that we wouldn’t extend that same heart out to others who need it (1 Peter 4:10).
That’s my thought for the day. I pray it is received as it was intended to be written … gracefully.
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