Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times
You can’t stop life from happening to you, but you can choose how you respond. At the office, a coworker says something that offends you. It starts off as a little seed. If you let it go, nothing will come of it. But if you dwell on it, you’ll soon be holding a grudge. Now that little seed is taking root. It starts to grow and before long it will pollute other areas of your life. That’s why Hebrews 12:15 warns “that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.”
The good news is you don’t have to live with bitter roots. Ask God to show you what’s causing you to be bitter. Maybe you need to forgive somebody, maybe you’re still sour over a dream that didn’t work out, or maybe you’re still beating yourself up over a mistake you made in the past. Be honest with yourself and say, “God, help me to get this root of bitterness out of me. I don’t want to live angry and bitter. I want my passion back. I want to love again. I want to laugh again. I want to dream again. God, help me to let it go and move forward.”
Joel Osteen has no less than a thousand, half hour wonderful presentations, about positive thinking, hope, optimism and success. Most of these are available in YouTube and a few will be linked in this post.
Some of these are repetitions but almost every sermon has some new materials and metaphors.
He is a Christian Pastor but I felt that it would be such a loss if I don’t share these with our Muslim readers. He mostly talks about God of the Abrahamic faiths of Judaism and Christianity. Additionally, for the Muslim readers, whenever he speaks of the Bible we could choose to substitute it with the Quran and whenever he refers to Jesus we can suitably imply Allah or Muhammad, may peace be on him.
By such simple substitution almost all of his presentations become perfectly kosher and halal for the Muslim audience, who can greatly benefit from his oratory and scholarship.
Listening is the modern form of reading and by listening for a few hours, audience can gather years of reading of Osteen.
Some Muslims worry about the influence of the Christian dogma and I don’t have the slightest fear of those false doctrines, as we have scores of amazing articles to present a rational form of Christianity and expose the absurdity of her dogma like Trinity, divinity of Jesus, birth of God, Original Sin and Eucharist.
Nevertheless, Islam and Christianity, both share the theology of Providence of God and compassionate and just living among the humanity and there we can share and work together and applaud each other and need not create artificial walls. Allah says in the holy Quran: “Say, `O people of the Book ! come to a word equal to us and you – that we worship none but Allah, and that we associate no partner with Him, and that some of us take not others for Lords beside Allah.’ But if they turn away, then say `Bear witness that we have submitted to God.'” (Al Quran 3:64/65)
In the last century, Dale Carnegie with his book, How to make friends and influence people, set the tone for social and business life, during this century with his televangelism, Joel Osteen is setting the tone for positive thinking and optimism.
According to a BBC survey a billion people in the world are suffering from anxiety and depression and the world badly needs a voice of hope and optimism.
In that spirit I will catalog several of his presentations below in this article and in the comment section, over time.
The distinguished psychiatrist, Dr. Carl Jung, who was a contemporary of Freud and is well known for several contributions in the field, says in the chapter, Psychotherapists or clergy of his book, Modern Man in Search of a Soul:
During the past thirty years, people from all the civilized countries of the earth have consulted me. I have treated many hundreds of patients. … Among all my patients in the second half of life — to say, over thirty‑five — there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life. It is safe to say that every one of them fell ill because he had lost that which the living religions of every age have given to their followers, and none of them has been really healed who did not regain his religious outlook.
The famous psychiatrist has declared in no uncertain terms that the origin of all psychiatric problems which will include anxiety, depression and personality disorders lies in moving away from true religious values.
In conclusion, here are some more essential readings:
- Dr. Carl Jung. Modern Man in Search of a Soul. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Book, 1933. Page 229.