Despite Justin Bieber's recent South American exploits landing him in the tabloids almost every day, the singer has maintained a loyal cadre of supporters, including Seattle pastor Judah Smith.
In a recent The Hollywood Reporter article that tries to make sense of allegations that Bieber had allegedly slept with a Brazilian prostitute, disrespected the Argentine flag, and illegally tagged a hotel wall, Smith, who pastors Washington-based City Church, made it clear that he's not abandoning his mentee.
According to the report, Smith has counseled Bieber to avoid getting caught up in the press and "not get discouraged or despondent because of perceived failures."
The pastor also added that he wishes the public could see a broader view of Bieber, beyond the one that sends heads turning.
"I don't envy the scrutiny that he carries," Smith said. "He lives a very blessed life, but with those blessings comes a lot of responsibility and expectations from people. Justin is digging deep and discovering. … But he's an extraordinarily compassionate, considerate, loving person who's very loyal and committed to the people in his world. I wish more people saw that side of him."
Smith, who frequently shows up on Bieber's social media feed and texts the singer Bible verses daily, has also flown out to visit him on tour to destinations as remote as South Africa and Australia.
He has spoken out in the media several times on behalf of Bieber, whom he met through the star's mother, Pattie Mallette, who called him three years ago.
"His mom called me....and he was having a concert in Everett (Washington)," Smith shared on Fox and Friends in February of this year. "Lo and behold he had heard me preach when he was younger in Toronto. I guess I used to put him to sleep. His mom said she'd play my tapes and he'd fall asleep."
Smith also shared how he advises Bieber, who is one of the most successful recording artists and biggest celebrities of the past five years.
"I tend to think certainly Justin has a lot of opportunity and temptation, but frankly I think in the 21st century, we probably all do. I would encourage him like I would encourage most of our church in Seattle in terms of being like Jesus and asking the all-important question – what would Jesus do? Justin makes fantastic decisions in his life," Smith added.