Joel Osteen Tells Hurricane Victims They Shouldn't Have 'Poor Old Me' Mentality in Sunday Service

Televangelist Joel Osteen told parishoners on Sunday that Hurricane Harvey survivors should not have a "poor old me" mentality.

Olsteen made the remark during a service in his Houtson megachurch following criticism that he shut his doors on Hurricane Harvey victims.

Osteen reopened his church to the public for service on Sunday, and addressed criticisms he faced after social media users slammed him for not offering to house the storm's victims in the 16,000 seat arena during the aftermath of the storm. The church officially opened its doors and took in hundreds of evacuees last Tuesday, four days after Hurricane Harvey made landfall.

According to Newsweek, many in the audience on Sunday were victims of the storm.

"You know I really believe in these times of difficulty it's, for me, certainly not the time to question your faith but to turn to your faith, because God is the one that gives you the strength to make it through the difficult times," Osteen said in a video taken during Sunday's sermon.

"We are not going to understand everything that happens but, you know, having a 'poor old me' mentality or 'look what I lost' or 'why did this happen', that's just going to pull you down. Like we've been talking about all night, you just got to turn it over and say 'God, you're still on the throne.'"

He also spoke out about "misinformation" that led to criticisms of him and his church, explaining to churchgoers that Harvey's floodwaters threatened to flood the arena.

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"Had we opened the building sooner and someone got injured, or perhaps the building flooded and someone lost their lives, that would have been a very different story. Now I don't mind taking the heat for being precautious. But I don't want to take the heat for being foolish," Osteen said.

At press time, there have been 63 Hurricane Harvey-related deaths. Texas governor Greg Abott estimates that the storm caused $180 billion in damage. Many have not yet been able to return to their homes, while much of southeast Texas still remains underwater.