Pop singer Justin Bieber, on the heels of the release of his new album, “Changes,” said in a recent interview he now has a better understanding of who Jesus is and what it means to accept his grace.
Growing up, Bieber told Apple Music host Zane Lowe, he didn’t have the best role models in his life. His mom, Pattie Mallette, is a Christian, but she was working through her own struggles while raising the now-25-year-old artist. So she would tell him one thing about forgiveness and then live in a contrary way.
“My mom was really hurt growing up, she had so many things going on in her life, so she was navigating her faith journey,” he reflected. “For me, it was just confusing.”
That left Bieber searching. For years, he claimed to be a Christian but made reckless choices that complicated his fumbling faith.
It wasn’t until he met — and ultimately married — model Hailey Baldwin, who is also a Christian, that Bieber began to realize he had layers of unforgiveness in his own life, much of which was linked to his previous dating relationships.
Sensing his own instability, Bieber hit the pause button on his relationship with Baldwin while he worked on his own spiritual health. He was dealing with physical ailments, too, like Lyme disease and mononucleosis, which resulted in the singer cancelling much of his 2017 tour.
“I was really tired emotionally, physically, and I was sick and I didn’t realize I was sick,” Bieber told Lowe. “[I]t was just the exhaustion of just being on tour, and then it was just everything compounded, I think, to be honest.”
With time, though, and a lot of work, Bieber took a serious look into who Jesus is, according to the Bible, and what he believes as a man who calls himself Christian.
He began to understand God “accepts us for who we are, and loves us through our pain and through our dirt.”
Bieber also surrounded himself with other believers, like Carl Lentz, pastor of Hillsong Church in New York City. Seeing their faith journeys and relationships with their spouses really put things into perspective for the pop star.
It was through that exploration and evaluation that Bieber truly learned grace.
“The way I look at my relationship with God and with Jesus is, I’m not trying to earn God’s love by doing good things,” Bieber said. “God has already loved me for who I am, before I did anything to earn and deserve it. It’s a free gift by accepting Jesus, and just giving your life to Him.”
“And what he did is the gift — the forgiveness — is the thing that we look at, and, ‘I’m going to worship you, God, because you gave me something so good,’” he continued. “And so you live that life of like, ‘I don’t want to cheat on my wife, not because it’s the right thing to do, but because I don’t want to hurt her.’ See the difference there?”