It’s the Weekend Blog Free For All which means I take this time to write about anything I want that has nothing to do with fallen pastors or my usual ministry topics. I usually pick something light-hearted. Like Wagon Wheels.
For some reason I had the urge to write about Justin Bieber. Yes, the Biebs. And let me start with the obvious. I am well aware that the young man was picked up in Miami this week after drag racing while intoxicated with, uh, several types of drugs in his system. I’m sure everyone has seen a story or read about it.
This comes on the heels of his recently announced retirement at the age of 19 followed up by egging his neighbor’s mansion and causing a pretty serious amount of monetary damage.
So let me back up for a moment. I have three daughters and I am well acquainted with his music. I’ve really never liked teenage boy singers. Or boy bands. Even when I was young. Never liked New Kids on the Block, ‘N Sync, Bieber, One Direction, or whomever. My daughters are in love with One Direction. Yeah, Harry, Zayn, Naill, Louis and Liam. (I knew their names from memory. Don’t judge me. I think it makes me a decent dad.)
In fact, the only Bieber song I can listen to is “Baby” and that’s when it’s the mashup of Baby with Slipknot’s Psychosocial:
So, yeah, I’ve got angst.
About a year ago, Bieber started getting into trouble. Making rude comments, showing up late to concerts, speeding, flipping people off, getting into fights, etc. I thought, “Well, he’s in a downward spiral.” (Not that I’ve heard of an “upward spiral.”) And to be honest, I had that tinge of schadenfreude. Yeah, I said it – schadenfreude. I had to look it up to spell it, but it was in my vocabulary.
The reason it was in my vocabulary is because I heard Lisa say it on The Simpsons once. The always trustworthy and peer-reviewed Wikipedia defines it as: “pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.” So, it’s sour grapes.
I reveled in the self-destruction of Justin Bieber to a degree. Why? Because when I saw that snot-nosed punk dancing around with his celebrity acting like a jerk, I didn’t think he was someone to be admired or adored. And, to be honest, I was thinking, “There are millions of girls out there who love this guy – and I hope none of them would ever seriously marry a man like that.” So, I had some father-protective instinct in me.
But that all changed this week when Bieber’s dad shut down a road in Miami, Biebs got drunk and high and drag raced. He got arrested and put in jail and had a ridiculous mugshot made. Then I was reading an article that quoted Danny Bonaduce, former child star who used to be on The Partridge Family (most of the Bieber generation will have no idea what this is.)
Anyway, Bonaduce had a promising career in front of him and his life took a turn for the worse when he started using cocaine. Lots of it. He got arrested and finally got clean. Here’s what he said about Bieber: “This is the best thing that could have happened to him. Speaking from personal experience, this (arrest) could save his life.”
Suddenly, I thought, “What is my problem? Why do I have angst for this kid? And what should my response as a Christian be?”
Seriously, a lot of Christians and youth are going to hear about this on Sunday when they go to church. I’m afraid it’s going to sound something like this: “Justin Bieber is an example of what happens when you let wealth and fame get away from you. He has traveled down a path and has paid the price. There is no hope for him now. Don’t let this happen to you. He’s proven that you can’t be happy with money and fame. He’s an example of what not to be.”
I’ve got a bit of a problem with that. I can’t think for a moment in Scipture where an individual who still has a chance at redemption is pointed out and made an example of for their sin. I can’t. And I don’t think I’m setting up a straw man here. I do believe that will be the message coming from the mouths of a lot of Christian leaders.
I think there’s a better message here. And as a fallen leader, I should know. The better message is one of compassion. What Justin needs is two things. He needs rehabilitation, big time. He also needs a lot of help from people who know Christ. He needs intervention from God. He has been humbled. And I’ve said it before and will say it again – humbling circumstances do not necessarily make people humble.
His mom has asked for prayers for him. Now, his mom has been somewhat of an enabler for him, but I think she really does love her son. And now that he’s out of control and is in this situation, she knows that there’s not much left to do.
And I believe the proper Christian response is simple – treat Justin Bieber in a biblical manner. We are all sinners. All of us have fallen. All of us are in need of grace. Romans 5:8 tells us that, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Not one of us, especially myself, has a right to gossip, declare judgment, or cast a harsh word toward Justin Bieber. Are we allowed to tell our children, “You shouldn’t act like that.” Absolutely. But that instruction should be quickly followed up with, “But guess what? Even if we do act that way and when Justin Bieber acts that way, there is forgiveness for all sin through Jesus Christ.”
How do we treat Justin Bieber? As we would want to be treated if we were him. As the Prodigal Son was treated. Praying for him to see the light and to be saved from the place he is in.
And that’s the best message, worthy of a song.
Did you like this? Maybe not. But you might like my now infamous Wagon Wheel post or its sequel, my post about “The Ceiling Can’t Hold Us“, my post about how awful Candy Crush is, my post about “Get Your Shine On”, my poor attempt to start the unity selfie, or the one about “Boys ‘Round Here.”
When I’m not being cynical about pop culture, I do run a ministry to help fallen pastors here at fallenpastor.com. I also wrote a book. It is designed to help people understand forgiveness and the problems within the church. Check it out – it’s on Amazon and everything.