Yesterday, the magazine Complex published an extensive Q&A with pop star Justin Bieber on their website. The Q&A explored Bieber’s recent mistakes in the public eye, his relationship with fellow pop star Selena Gomez and his faith.
I thought there were some really interesting things he said, and I want to share some of them.
On having real relationships with people who won’t just tell you what you want to hear:
When you get famous, you get people that will encourage whatever you do. You’ll do something and they’ll be like, “That was dope, Justin!” When you’re young especially, you don’t know who’s bulls***ting you. I’m gonna make sure that I don’t have people around me who make me look like an idiot. You don’t understand—that’s a normal thing for human beings, but I never had that in my life. I didn’t even have that with my parents. I think they just didn’t know how. We never built the right relationships. Now I’m having real relationships where it’s two ways. I didn’t understand how that works because the way people would interact with me was always so weird and it was never completely 100 percent genuine.
The insight: Be around people who won’t fool with you. Surround yourself with people who will tell you the honest truth about yourself, people who will be 1oo percent honest and genuine with you.
On relationships and putting your identity in your significant other:
Your girl or your dude, they’re always going to disappoint you. Your full identity can’t be in that person. My identity was in her [ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez]. Her identity was in me. When stuff would happen, I would lose my freakin’ mind, and she would lose her mind, and we would fight so hard because we were so invested in each other. Love is a choice. Love is not a feeling. People have made it seem in movies that it’s this fairy tale. That’s not what love is. You’re not gonna want to love your girl sometimes but you’re gonna choose to love her. That’s something in life that I had to figure out. I can’t lean on people. I got to lean on God. I gotta trust in him through all my situations. Then, hopefully, my other relationships will flourish around me. But if I’m gonna be so invested in you, if you die, or something happens to you, I’m gonna be so destroyed, I won’t be able to go on. If I can love you and know that I’m not who I am because you’re being nice to me, but that I love you and I think you’re an incredible person but you’re just as broken as I am on the inside. We’re all just trying to figure it out.
The insight: Love is a choice. It’s not a feeling. In relationships, you can’t just go around basing everything off your feelings. You’ll never end up in a lasting relationship with anyone because feelings come and go. And if you base your identity in your relationship with a human, it will never be stable because humans are naturally unstable.
On his faith and where his journey has brought him:
I’m not religious. I, personally, love Jesus and that was my salvation. I want to share what I’m going through and what I’m feeling and I think it shouldn’t be ostracized. I think that everybody should get their chance to share what they’re doing or where their journey is headed, whether they’re straight or gay or what they believe in. We’re in a place now in 2015 where people have gotta be open-minded. I actually feel better and more free now that I know what I can do and what I can’t do. My voice, I’m not gonna let it not be heard anymore. I’m gonna use my voice for a reason. I think that people, as soon as they start hearing me saying I’m a Christian, they’re like, “Whoa Justin, back up, take a step back.” Also, I do not want to shove this down anyone’s throat. I just wanna honestly live like Jesus. Not be Jesus—I could never—I don’t want that to come across weird. He created a pretty awesome template of how to love people and how to be gracious and kind. If you believe it, he died for our sins. Sometimes when I don’t feel like doing something, but I know it’s right, I remember, I’m pretty sure Jesus didn’t feel like going to the cross and dying so that we don’t have to feel what we should have to feel. What Jesus did when he came to the cross was basically say, “You don’t have to feel any of that stuff.” We could take out all of our insecurities, we could take away all of the hurt, all the pain, all the fear, all the trauma. That doesn’t need to be there. So all this healing that you’re trying to do, it’s unnecessary. We have the greatest healer of all and his name is Jesus Christ. And he really heals. This is it. It’s time that we all share our voice. Whatever you believe. Share it. I’m at a point where I’m not going to hold this in.
The insight: Jesus is our salvation. It’s not anything we do. It’s Him. We can never be Jesus, but our goal is to live like Him. And we can and should be open and honest and real about our relationship with Him.
I’m afraid that something we often do as the Church is write off people just because of their prior actions and think, “Well, I shouldn’t even care what they have to say. They’re idiots/immature/stupid/silly/etc., they’ve broken the law, they’ve cussed, they’ve sung something I don’t like, so I should just ignore them.”
If we really applied that to everyone, here’s a list of people we would have to write off:
- Paul: orchestrated the imprisonment and death of Christians
- Peter: denied Christ and cut a guy’s ear off with a sword
- Moses: killed an Egyptian slave driver
- David: committed adultery and had his mistress’ husband killed
- Christian and rapper Lecrae: forced his girlfriend to get an abortion
- Pastor/author Matt Chandler: wants people to “think Matt Chandler is one of the greatest preachers ever (that’s pride, y’all)
I’m not saying we need to start seeking after Justin Bieber for our theological foundation. He doesn’t proclaim to be, and I don’t propose him to be, a theologian of the highest order who we need to follow on Twitter to get all the spiritual wisdom we need. But can’t we just step back and not completely write off someone because their life doesn’t match up entirely with how we think a Christian life is supposed to look like?
Let’s be honest: none of us live that way. If you knew everything about my life, past and present, you’d probably never read this blog again. And I wouldn’t blame you.
Based on this article, Justin Bieber has a better grip on the Gospel than many Christians who go to church all the time and argue on Facebook do.
Cut him – and everybody else who sins – some slack. Jesus cuts us tons of slack and loves us in spite of our sins. Can’t we do that for others?