Dear Justin Bieber,
There is one generation of fans that have seen you through it all. We fell in love with you after your first viral cover of "With You" by Chris Brown. You may not have not even hit puberty yet, but we somehow knew you'd be a star we would watch for years to come.
Suddenly, you came out with your music video to "Baby" and every young girl did that high-pitched squeal watching you dance and hearing your voice. We wished to be your "first love at thirteen" you sang about.
We were glued on our desktop computers watching you sing "One Less Lonely Girl." We found ourselves watching concerts of yours on Youtube, wishing we could be picked as your "One Less Lonely Girl" and be serenaded by you.
We waited outside the night before the movie "Never Say Never" was released and suddenly fell in love with the person behind the music, the goofy young teenager with a heart of gold.
We soon realized that as boys grow up, voices change, and we feared puberty would take away the raw talent you had. But God listened to our prayers, and your voice stayed magical.
Your Christmas album was the highlight of 2011. You made Christmas even more magical and slowly we fell even more in love with you.
We watched you date our other favorite star, Selena, and everyone stalked your relationship.
However, we also saw you get a DUI, lash out on paparazzi, and become, well, the human you were. We put you on a pedestal, and like every idol from this world you failed us. Some thought you would never be an actual role model to follow, while some waited for a turning point and had hope that the little boy who loved music, his mama, and God, was still inside the wandering teenager.
Then we watched you come out with your best album yet. "Love Yourself" was on repeat, and we couldn't stop jamming to "Sorry." Ellen's Bieber week on her show was the highlight of our year.
We knew something about you was different with this album. You seemed more mature than the celebrity with a DUI and a tendency to lash out. You weren't the same. However, hearing you talk about your faith proved the little boy we watched grow up, achieve his dreams, and make mistakes ... was finally a man.
Justin Bieber, thank you. The spotlight must be hard, but watching you bounce back after embarrassing mistakes proves that we can too. Everyone fails in life, you just have the spotlight on your mistakes. Every day I participate in actions that do not reflect a love for God. I am ashamed of my constant dependence on God's grace, but you in this video reminded me and millions of fans that that is the point of a relationship with Christ. We will fall, but will we look to Christ for strength to get back up? You reminded your fans that we should look to Christ for strength. We aren't perfect, or even close, no matter "how Christian you are."
Justin, thanks for growing up in the spotlight and pointing your life to Christ. You aren't perfect, but watching you grow up, make mistakes, and ask for grace from our Creator proves to us that a walk with Christ isn't supposed to be a nice stroll in Central Park in 70 degree weather. Walking with Christ isn't supposed to be about Instagraming your coffee and bible verse of the day and pretending life is perfect. It isn't about sitting in a pew for an hour a week. It is about doing your best to look to God when the world is telling you to look away. It is about a relationship with Christ, and calling Him a friend. It is about falling and admitting defeat. It is about admitting you are not perfect and prone to wander, but knowing that God gave His Son to die for your mistakes, and you are forgiven by His grace and not anything you have done.
Our generation watched you grow up, Justin. We watched you sell out world tours and make mistakes. We watched you commit sins and watched you point your glory and fame to Christ. We watched you as you got older admit defeat, and remind us with Christ it is never "too late now to say sorry."
So thank you Justin Bieber -- from your fans who have seen it all, and have learned more about Christ because you pointed to him. You haven't been the perfect role model -- but who has been that is fully human? We pray you continue to point others to Christ, and do your best to live the life Jesus has called you to.
Romans 3:23-26 -- "Everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus."