photo by Daniel Ebersole

photo by Daniel Ebersole

Because I’m a member of society who pays attention, probably more than I should, to pop culture, I watched the VMA’s last Sunday night. It was unsurprisingly appalling because MTV loves ratings more than most things, as Kanye so long-windedly pointed out. Amidst the debauchery, there was a beautiful moment of redemption: Justin Bieber performed for the first time in five years, and when he finished, he broke down in tears in front of a cheering crowd.

For the past few years, Justin has been the center of attention for everything but his music. He’s been doing a lot of fooling around and not a lot of working on his craft, a craft that he has quite a talent for. So when he performed his two newest songs on the VMA’s, it was certainly a change of scenery for him.

A few days after the show, Justin went on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and explained why he became so emotional after the VMA performance. He explained that he wasn’t expecting the support he received because the last time he performed at an award show, he was booed. Justin felt that he would be judged for coming back to do the thing he loves. He cried because he was scared to show himself, but he showed himself anyway, and the only response he received was acceptance and love. He went on to explain why he had gone through such a troubled period: he surrounded himself with “knuckleheads” and made bad decisions and struggled through learning about himself.

He was lost and we judged him for his mistakes. We threw the stones that we were not qualified to throw; he was scared to ask for forgiveness but he opened himself up in vulnerability to receive love.

I don’t know what Justin’s beliefs are, but I believe that he experienced the love of Christ on that stage. He did some stupid things and neglected his calling; he fell deep into the valley.

But he saw what he lacked and he opened his heart without expectations of forgiveness. Yet that is what he received.

This is the vulnerability we are called to have with the Lord. To get up on the stage and show our hearts even when we’re afraid. This is the forgiveness we are called to give to others. We are called to be the screaming crowd, welcoming back the prodigal pop star. No one is too far gone.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23-24

-Alexandra Steele // @al_steele

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