Some of the latest media drama is starring Justin Bieber, Hillsong Church leaders Joel Houston and Carl Lentz, and City Church Pastor Judah Smith. The hype about the men and their friendship with/mentorship of our teenage dream pop star is, well, a lot. The things I have read and heard about this situation have blown my mind. People are ranting about recent pictures posted on social media of Justin with the three men. Some are complaining that the boy shouldn’t be allowed to associate with a church, and both Hillsong and City Church have received a good bit of negative publicity and criticism for so openly accepting him.
Are you kidding me?
If Justin were to approach Jesus, how would Jesus react? In reality, Justin probably wouldn’t approach Jesus, do you know why? Because Jesus would approach Justin. Are we so blinded by religious goggles that we can’t see that’s exactly what is happening here? Jesus is pursuing this boy’s heart just like He pursues ours, with an insatiable love. He is meeting Justin, literally, right where He is – just like He does for each of us. It just so happens that the entire world is watching this heart pursuit, which is incredible, because the world is able to get a glimpse of what real Jesus-love looks like…a crucial demonstration after so many people who claim Christianity have butchered the concept.
What if our journeys were broadcasted? What would the media say about you? I know what they would say about me, and I sure as heck wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
Jesus doesn’t see us as famous and non-famous, rich and poor, or good and bad.
As followers of Jesus, the concept of someone being “unworthy” should be such a distant one that we can’t even understand it. Where in the world did we get off thinking that we have a right to keep someone out of church on a basis of who they are or what they have done?
Just because our sins and struggles are tucked away so other people can’t see them does not mean they aren’t there. Luckily, Jesus loves despite any and all mess.
Jesus is inviting Justin Bieber to church. Jesus is inviting Justin Bieber to His heart, to His love, to His mercy and life-changing grace, just like He has invited and continues to invite each of us.
So to you sir, or to you ma’am, who is judging or criticizing Justin Beiber and the open arms that have accepted him into God’s House – here is a message directly from the lips of the One you are claiming to follow:
Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone (John 8:7)
Justin, you are more than welcome, forever and always, into the House of God and the arms of Jesus. Joel, Carl, Judah – we need more leaders like the three of you who dare to unapologetically follow in the footsteps of Jesus and of love.