(By CP Cartoonist Rod Anderson)
First it was the photos at a brothel in Brazil. And now photos after getting bailed out of jail in Miami. What could possibly be next for the one they call Justin Bieber?
This young man isn't the first pop star to be arrested on charges of drunk driving and resisting arrest. And he certainly won't be the last. At just 19 years of age, Bieber is experiencing the same desires many teenagers and college students across the country dive into on a weekly basis. The thrill of the party life is never fully satisfied by partying. The more you party, the deeper you are driven into that lifestyle.
It's not rocket science. Drugs and alcohol tend to be addictive. Sexual encounters outside of marriage feed the flesh, but not the spirit. And fame in America makes it next to impossible for "the average celebrity" to walk closely with Christ.
So is Justin Bieber about "average," or is he more like the prodigal son in the Bible who finally came to his senses after wasting his money and his body on prostitutes and wild parties? (see Luke 15:11-32) For every teenager who knows Christ and falls away for awhile, there are dozens of teens who never meet the Savior and never discover the abundant life which Jesus offers.
What do you think Jesus would say to young Justin today? I believe Jesus would say the same thing to Justin that He would say to many other teenagers in America. And while I certainly don't know for sure how our Lord would choose to say it, I could easily imagine the discussion going something like this:
"Justin. Are you ready yet? I am going out today to reach some more people. Will you come along? Do you want to help reach them?"
"It wasn't too long ago Justin that we were spending some time together. Some of the pastors you were talking to had shared the truth with you. And it seemed like it was connecting with you."
"Lately, I know you have been feeding your sinful desires. I see it all the time. All across the land, young people are tempted to engage in activities with sex and substances that only entangle them and bring them down. I want so much more for you, and for them. I love you Justin, and I love them."
"You can't change what happened this week, but I see a pattern developing here. Is it the path you really want to be on? You do know Justin where that lifestyle will lead you, right? Look at me Justin. I am not here to condemn you. I died to save you. I thought you were starting to get excited about that fact."
"You have now seen just how strong temptation becomes, especially when a person gives into it. I have watched for centuries as people have done the same thing. This is why I had to come here to pay for your sins, and for their sins. There was no other way to save you. But do you want to be saved Justin? Or is the party life 'the real you' and the person you want to be?"
"Whichever path you choose, it is not going to be easy. If you stay on the party path, it will eventually burn you out. If you get back on the narrow road and continue following me, you will face plenty of challenges there as well. But only one of those two paths leads to heaven, while the other leads to hell. I died for you Justin so that you could be with me forever. And my grace is sufficient for you. My grace is available to forgive you today, and to empower you tomorrow to make wise choices."
"Each of my children has a tendency to do their own thing at times. But some of them have grown spiritually to a point where they no longer get pulled into the stuff that messed up your life once again in the past few days. That doesn't mean they are any better than you Justin. It just means they have repented of those earlier sins and have left that lifestyle behind in order to follow me."
"I know how strong the temptation is for you right now Justin. But I also know that by giving into it, you will only make it harder to escape that downward spiral. I have a different vision for your life. You are not even 20 years old yet. But at this rate, you might not even make it through your twenties. The time has come for a radical change of direction. I have led many people out of the trap you find yourself in today Justin. You didn't lay the trap, but you willingly stepped into it."
"But I still love you, and I forgive everyone who repents and trusts in me to be clean."
"I knew you were going to be arrested. I know all things. But I also know that the Holy Spirit can fill you with deeper rivers of living water than you have yet experienced. It's your call Justin. Those who love me not only believe in me, but they also obey me. I love you, and I would be very glad to have you love me in return. But I won't force you to do so. That's not what I do."
"What do you say? Do we have a future together? I hope so, not only with you, but with many other teenagers today who are ensnared by the same temptations which have entangled your soul Justin. Things can still turn around. But it's getting late. And I am going to be moving on to some other cities tomorrow to bring my message to them."
"Do you want to join me on this journey Justin? Do you still want to be my disciple?"
Only the Lord knows what He would tell Justin Bieber today. But I could envision Jesus sharing some of those thoughts.
What do you think Jesus would say today to the teenagers of America, including those who know Him, as well as those who don't?