A little while ago, a friend of mine posted to Facebook a video of an interview with the newly-spiritual Justin Bieber. I was intrigued and hopeful as I watched, but was disappointed to see that in all this troubled young man's reaching after God, he had never grasped the real gospel, true repentance and faith in Christ. (I also wished that someone would muzzle the incredibly banal interviewer.) How good it would be for someone come into his life and build sound doctrine on the few things he's grasped.
But that wasn't the end of my thoughts on the topic. If it was, the thoughts wouldn't be nagging me to write about this Bieber thing instead of taking a nap on the couch. There are lots of videos out there of people with shallow doctrine on which we could make judicious comments for the rest of our free time. But there was something deeper. What won't leave my mind is what this video did to my feelings about pop stars and the crazy world out there in general.
First, I have to say that I believe it a waste of time and compromise of pursuing holiness for believers to try to keep up with pop stardom. We have better things to do. But while living a normal life, we do end up hearing or seeing something about the most notable in the limelight. And how do we respond? I was thinking about this especially in regard to the young and dissolute Justin Bieber, who over the past few years became among the most despised, ridiculed figures in conservative America. Who among the 20-something generation hasn't heard at some point a humorous comment which referenced Bieber?
But when I watched this video, I was struck by this one thing. While we were continuing to mock Justin Bieber for his follies, the young man himself was feeling his misery and seeking help. And who of us were praying for him? Again, I'm not hoping that Christians will start reading People magazine to find prayer requests - I'm thinking about our general attitude to things we hear. It doesn't take the Holy Spirit to despise an immoral pop star. It does take the Holy Spirit to be grieved that another person is sinning (so publicly especially) and falling short of God's glory, and yet, yet they may be justified freely by His grace in Jesus Christ. I don't think Bieber reached this point - and yet, he could, and so could any other by God's grace.
Christians with the Holy Spirit should be glad to know as little as possible of the vain doings of the world, but what we do hear should not make us smirk. It's fun for our pride to lift itself up on the rubble of the popular. That's why we enjoy laughing at them, and in one sense it is good to keep a perspective that the world's pursuits are vain and empty ("the world is passing away along with its desires"- 1 John 2:17). But Christ looked at the rich young ruler and loved him (Mark 10:21), and he calls us to die to self and follow in His steps. We may not be acting Christianly every time we laugh - perhaps we ought to hope, pity and pray.