Justin Bieber is professing to be a Christian, and wanting to be "more like Jesus" in recent interviews. Is this the same Justin we saw years ago? A PR stunt? Or could it be a young kid, growing into a man, and walking out his faith at work?
I'm amazed how quick to judge people get when a celebrity or someone in the spotlight makes a mistake. The judgments and measuring rods of comparison come out, and criticism goes through the roof. Is it because we expect people who are hugely successful to be superhuman, so that we can feel better about ourselves? Ironically, authenticity seems to be the buzzword lately, but, when someone who has a huge following on social media falls, the world doesn't want the authentic. They want a faux version of what they wish we all could be.
Jesus didn't sit with the Pharisees and pick apart the sinners. On the contrary, he sat with the sinners and really made the religious leaders mad -- so much so that they eventually would crucify him for giving grace to fallen people.
I've watched Justin Bieber be virtually crucified, slandered, criticized and judged for the last few years. When I posted about my heart for him, as a Mom of three sons, and my belief that he would return to all that he was raised with, I was judged, nearly bullied and even had some of my million followers on my Facebook page followers tell me they were going to unfollow me because I expressed love for Justin and people like him. Can you imagine? Yes, this is the world we live in, ladies and gentlemen. Where we want encouragement, motivation and inspiration for our own messed up lives but we do NOT want to extend it to anyone who should be "superhuman" because they are rich, successful and seem bigger than life.
Justin Bieber is a very talented, gifted young man with an obvious spiritual gift for influence, music and more. Does that mean we should expect him to be "all grown up" with his life all in order so that we can respect him? I rarely meet adults who have their life all in order, let alone young people. It's situations like this that compel me to continue pushing the message of faith at work into the marketplace and social media world. Faith is what Justin had to walk in to record his first album, faith is what he needed to keep walking when people judged him, misunderstood him and were jealous of him. It is faith that prevented him from falling into suicidal tendencies or depression, when the whole world was judging him as a young man. Now.... faith at work -- his work -- has given him courage to rise up. I might add, in a very amazing way!
The measure of a man is not demonstrated by the speed in which he runs his race, but rather by how well he can rise up when he trips and falls.
The way Justin is standing up is an excellent example for everyone. You better believe it's taking courage, faith and more to do so, as people accuse him even more of being "fake," "creating a PR stunt," "unworthy." This man has faith in his work, the world and the future... more than I've seen in a long time in the music industry. It's a faith that inspires us all to be more.
In a recent interview with Relevant Magazine, Bieber said he wants to live like Jesus. In another, found in Complex Magazine, we see a new Justin Bieber standing up, taking the chains off, and he's not a young boy trying to find his way, but now we see a man, figuring out what he believes in, will do, won't do and more. This is a critical time for him and it's one that his fans are watching closely. I am personally cheering him on and beleive he's about to make history! His new story, for the world to see.
As I watched him weep after his VMA performance, I was reminded that tens of millions of young people also saw him weep. The ones who have cheered him on, forgiven him when he fell, and believed in him when he made mistakes. It is this very same faith that his fans have in him, and that he has in his work and them, that propels him today. The fact that there are some people who aren't crucifying him, but believe the best in him, really does matter.
I have a big social-media following, but it's very small compared with Justin's, and I personally have experienced people who are beyond mean on social media. They will pick you apart, expect you to answer them, obey them, pay attention to them and, before you know it, they have this fictitious view of who they want you to be vs. who you really are. In my own attempt to be authentic, real and open, I've won a lot of followers and I've lost a lot, too. Some people still want the "fake perfect" that crushed dreams are made of. I personally made a commitment to not fulfill that expectation. I'm excited to see Justin rise up and not fulfill it either.
This young man walks out his faith every single day. He has the same feelings we all have.
It takes faith to write, to sing, to give your gifts to the world. It also comes with a high price and, oftentimes, a heavy weight. Justin has a profound gift to influence large groups of people. This recent decision to change things, to be a better man and to be a good example is influencing millions of young people, while some of the old dogs are barking up every tree imaginable, trying to find something to incriminate him for.
The grace the Bible teaches is the same grace we need in our workplaces, the music industry and in the world. It's grace that forgives, believes the best, hopes all things, covers a multitude of sins and builds people up. I believe in who God says Justin Bieber is, and I am proud to call him my friend.
Faith drives us at work to change who we are so we can become all we were meant to be. Faith works, at work.