Justin Bieber will face charges for DUI, driving with an expired license, resisting arrest and egging a neighbor’s home.  And that is just one week’s tally of bad behavior.  Every child needs a father.  And every child needs the Father.  I often teach that no amount of parenting will remove a child’s free will.  On the other hand, there is a LOT parents can do to impact their children’s use of that free will.  Justin Bieber is exhibit “A.”

Justin Bieber’s mom, Pattie, was seventeen and unmarried when she gave birth to her son. She began a four-year dating relationship with Jeremy Bieber when she was fifteen.  Pattie has admitted to abusing drugs and alcohol during those years and was admitted to a hospital after a failed suicide attempt at seventeen.  Pattie has said she became a Christian while in that hospital.  She must be very worried about her son right now.

Jeremy Bieber, Justin’s dad, was apparently in one of the entourage vehicles that blocked off traffic on a Miami street, enabling his son to drag race a friend in a rented Lamborghini.  His dad was apparently aware of his son’s drug use that week and the fact that his son was drinking right before the drag race.  Justin’s dad has been with his son at other bad-behavior incidents as well.  Justin has a dad, but it appears he needs a father.

Child psychologists teach that the most influential parent in a son’s life is usually their father.   Dads need to stay with their kids.  Dads need to be a good example for their kids.  Dads need to be fathers – not just friends with their kids.  Justin Bieber’s dad sounds more like a bad friend than he does a father.  

It sounds like the genetics that created Justin Bieber are now repeating the weaknesses.  Was that inevitable?  Is Justin simply a victim of his DNA?  Not according to Scripture.  Free will means every human being has the right to choose.  We are all born with “tendencies” that genetics influence.  But God created us with free will so we could choose how we will allow those tendencies to control our actions.  That is why God gave us his laws and his Holy Spirit.  The heavenly Father knew we would need a perfect parent and promised to be one.

I’m sure Justin’s parents wish there were some things they could go back and do differently.  Every parent feels that way.  I feel sad when I see these young people spiraling downward.  I wonder if they reach their goal of fame and discover the trophy is only cheap plastic.  Imagine having it all and realizing none of it is worth very much.  Where does a person go from there?

Stories like the Biebers’ can be great teaching tools in our homes.  Our culture offers plastic trophies and tries to convince people those awards are worth any sacrifice.  Scripture teaches that eternal life is the “pearl of great price” and God thought our salvation was worth his own Son’s sacrifice.  

When I first heard about the Bieber story I rolled my eyes and thought all the normal thoughts.   After I had read about his parents, their past and their present lives, I felt differently.  I felt sad for the life of this wealthy young man, and then I felt blessed to have the life God has given me.

What does the “Biebs” story teach our children – and us?  The lesson: No one “has it all” unless they have Jesus as their Lord.  One of my favorite quotes is from a pastor named Erwin Lutzer.  He wrote:

Better to love God and die unknown than to love the world and be a hero; better to be content with poverty than to die a slave to wealth; better to have taken some risks and lost than to have done nothing and succeeded at it; better to have lost some battles than to have retreated from the war; better to have failed when serving God than to have succeeded when serving the devil.  What a tragedy to climb the ladder of success, only to discover that the ladder was leaning against the wrong wall.

Who will you share that wisdom with today?

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