Joel Osteen Says Stop Debating People Who Aren't Christian

Megachurch Pastor Speaks on 'The Power of I Am' and Being a Gospel Witness by Reflecting Christ's Love for His People

Pastor Joel Osteen
Pastor Joel Osteen leads his Lakewood Church congregation in prayer in Houston, Texas, on Sept. 22, 2013. |

Lakewood Church pastor and New York Times best-selling author Joel Osteen advises Christians to be "respectful" when engaging people of other faiths.

"I think [Christians should] take the high ground and respect where [other people are] coming from. What I've seen in life is most people get their faith or their religious background from their parents," said Osteen to The Christian Post, noting that oftentimes Christians try to prove their faith by debating others.

"I always realize — because I travel to a lot of different countries with different people of different faiths — I realize this is the way they were raised and I think people will know who the Disciples of Christ are by our love for one another. So I think respect and understanding is [the] starting point.

"[I prefer to] really make them want something that I have [such as] peace, joy and strength. Something that would be enticing to them," continued Osteen. "Respect is one of the characteristics of showing that we're people of faith. That we love God, that we love Jesus, and that is that we treat people with, respect and honor. Even those who disagree with us."

Aside from providing advice on how Christians can be a living witness in sharing the Gospel with people of other faiths, Osteen also discussed his latest book The Power of I Am: Two Words That Will Change Your Life Today, which focuses on the power of words, and encourgaing believers to stop speaking negatively about themselves in internal dialogue and external conversations.

Osteen suggests Christians should use the words "I am" and follow that up with statements from God's Word about His people.

"It's easy to go through life and say 'I'm unattractive, I'm slow, I'm not as smart as my brother.' Just these negative things," said Osteen. "I give a list of 30 or 40 positive things; I am healthy, I am disciplined, I am focused. And I believe, when you're constantly meditating on that, those things are attracted to you. You're sowing a seed for it to come into your life."

Osteen believes a lot of people are raised with negative ideas about themselves or have outside events, such as deaths and divorces, which pervert their perception along the way. Others lean more toward a pessimistic attitude naturally, according to the pastor.

He hopes those who read The Power of I Am will begin to turn those negative thoughts around to positive ones and start to build productive images of themselves in their minds based on what God has said about them.

"The real battle is taking place in our minds and thoughts. Because we all have negative circumstances. You can view them and get negative and discouraged, or you can turn it around and say, 'God, thank you that you're fighting my battles.' It's what the Scripture says. Rejoice in the Lord always and count it all joy when you face trials," he said.

Closely following the release of his next book, Osteen is preparing to host his "Night Of Hope" event at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on Oct. 16.

"New Yorkers are people who love the Lord. We've been to Yankee Stadium twice and we just love being in New York. It's a great place. [New Yorkers] are very outspoken and demonstrative. They clap, they sing, they cheer. It surprised me. I thought they'd be quiet, maybe a little bit cold, but I find just the opposite," said Osteen.

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