(Photo: Reuters/Lucas Jackson)
A Memphis, Tenn., pastor's open letter of love to Miley Cyrus about her racy performance at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards show on Sunday night, in which he expresses disappointment with her behavior but encourages her to reject pressure to be something she is not, has gone viral.
"I cannot say I enjoyed your performance, but I can say I (sic) my heart breaks for you, your future, and your identity as a woman," wrote Pastor Jarrid Wilson, formerly of High Point Church, in the letter published by Fox 19.
"There are so many things I don't know about you, but something tells me that you are going through more than you are willing to share with the people around you. I can't imagine being surrounded by the paparazzi 24/7, living in the shadow of your dad, and constantly being asked, 'What happened to that sweet girl from Hannah Montana?'" he continued.
Wilson pointed out that he understood that she was trying to shake off her Disney image for a more mature look but her current strategy isn't the way to achieve it in a healthy way.
"I get it, you're an adult now. You don't want to be forever viewed as the Child-Star from Disney Channel. But I can promise you that this isn't the way to break that mold," said Wilson.
"I'm not going throw any scripture at you. I'm not going to tell you how wrong you are. And I'm not going to tell you that you need Jesus. Why? Because frankly, I think you already know all of these things," continued Wilson who argued that her potential to use her platform for good is "unmeasurable."
"You're a smart girl who has found herself caught up in the world of entertainment. I assume it's rough. I can't imagine being constantly surrounded by drugs, sex and alcohol. And I can't imagine the peer pressure you must feel from labels, managers, and other artists around the world pressuring you to be something you're not," he said.
"I'm here to tell you: YOU DON'T NEED TO LISTEN TO THEM. You are allowed to make your own decisions, and quite frankly this might be the first time anyone has ever told you that.
"Regardless of what the tabloids say, my wife and I still believe in you, and will always show an open hand of grace and second chances," he ended.