Justin Bieber had a year of Biblical proportions. The singer came into 2017 apparently destined to continue his never-ending “Purpose World Tour” while getting in international trouble along the way. But an unexpected cancellation due to a possible religious intervention led to a mind-blowing romantic reunion.
As the year winds down, Justin is playing Christian music on his Instagram story, leading some to question if he’s taking his career in a new direction. It wouldn’t be entirely surprising after this year. Here’s how Selena Gomez, God and the long arm of the law shaped Justin’s 2017.
His year began in true bad boy fashion as Justin bailed on a sick puppy before getting slapped with a $1 million lawsuit for allegedly egging a neighboring home and harassing the family that lived there with anti-semitic language. Justin’s legal team started 2017 very busy as the singer was also dealing with fallout from a June 2016 fight in Cleveland.
But Justin was committed to change. On his 23rd birthday, the singer took to Instagram to share what he wanted for his special day. In an Instagram caption on a pic of him as an innocent kid, Justin wrote, “all I want is to be a better friend, better brother, better son and and better man.” Turns out being better ended up being harder than expected for Justin, and a birthday wish wouldn’t be enough to make it happen. It would take divine intervention.
Justin quickly put his plan into action and failed as he trashed a rented home in Australia. The “Purpose World Tour” was in full swing, packing stadiums across the globe. Justin’s public facade, however, was cracking Down Under, as his fan interactions were haphazard and erratic. He wound up trying to save face on Instagram after giving a paparazzo the bird.
Amidst concerns about being arrested in Brazil and news of a ban from China, Justin’s godly side started to shine. While he realized being 23 might not be enough to make him into a “better man,” he committed himself to a more reasonable, long-term goal: being “better at 70,” according to a tattoo he got in June. That might sound a little easier than being better at 23, but it’s not something Justin is undertaking alone.
Just after getting that tattoo, Justin’s religious revival kicked in. The singer spent basically all of his time with religious figures, whether he was arm-wrestling shirtless preachers or spitting bars at Satan. The church quickly denied any kind of financial relationship, meaning that Justin’s holy fervor was due only to his faith.
Justin became such a regular in Hillsong Church circles that he was the celebrity centerpiece of the church’s 2017 conference in Australia. By the time he was back in the states in late July, he was regularly attending services in Los Angeles. While his bad boy reputation meant he couldn’t rent a home in the City of Angels for months, he was spending plenty of time at God’s house while there.
The throngs of paparazzi at his church of choice got so intense that Justin got upset. The situation deteriorated after Justin accidentally ran over a camera man’s foot in the crowd. The photog was fine, but it led to Justin admonishing the paparazzi both en masse and one-on-one.
Suddenly the expert on moral authority, Justin took it upon himself to preach on the meaning of integrity to a lady paparazzo not long after that. While it might be better than giving an Aussie the bird, the sermon was just one part of a contentious relationship that was fomenting between Justin and L.A.’s shutterbugs.
Just when his visits to church couldn’t get creepier or more drama-prone, Justin made some drastic changes. He covered up his “SON OF GOD” tattoo just as his infamous ex, Selena Gomez, re-entered his life. While Selena’s family was less than thrilled that she was back with the “vile” man, the duo allegedly started showing up to church as a couple.
Jelena is all but officially back on now, and Selena appears to be at least partially responsible for Justin’s religious revival. The duo is still playing coy about their rekindled love, showing up to and leaving services separately. But the duo has quickly re-asserted itself as Hillsong’s celebrity power couple, as paparazzi and eager fans now know where to find them on the regular.
As for Justin’s soul, it’s unclear if the love of God or the love of a good woman is what brought him back from the brink of self-destruction. If he can hold on to whatever is keeping him out of trouble though, he might still make it to becoming a better 70-year-old man than he was 17-year-old kid.
Can Justin earn his way back into heaven or did he raise too much hell?
(Photo credit: Justin Bieber Instagram account)