Dear Justin Bieber,
I’ve never really felt very compelled to write you before. Honestly–and no offense–I have never really given you much thought at all. It was like we were both existing in the same world, but never had any interaction. Don’t worry, I don’t mistake this internet plee for interaction now. I am just saying, I have nothing against you. I’ve even bobbed my head to some of your songs. Sometimes I would find myself singing “Baby, baby, whoa” in the car with my friends. I mean, I watched you last time you hosted SNL. I am not about to create a fan page for you, but I would probably fist bump you if I met you.
Really, even now I hesitate to write you this open letter, displaying it for all the interwebs. I am hesitant because I want my words and my heart to be graceful. I feel like the world is filled with bullying and hateful comments that tear down, but I believe we are to build each other up. So I apologize if maybe I come across a little too harsh.
But, J. Biebs (may I call you J. Biebs?), I can’t seem to ignore this. I can’t get it out of my head. Enough is enough. Tony Parsons tells us to cut you some slack, and I really want to, but I believe honesty is important, and honestly, I have thought a lot about this. And I don’t even know this Tony Parsons guy. But I know you are getting grief for this, and I am sorry. I am sorry I am just adding to the noise.
You see, J. Biebs, the other day, I was sitting in class and somehow we found you in our conversation. It was brief–a mention of someone attending your concert. This comment spurred my professor to tell us of your visit to The Anne Frank House.
And you know what? Props to you for visiting the Anne Frank House. Seriously, you get props. Even though I am not even entirely sure what “props” are. Are they short for something? Do they stand for something? I am totes all about the abbrevs. Anyway, I am glad you care about the world. I am glad you love people. I know you love your fans.
My professor told us you wrote in Anne Frank’s guestbook. He told us you wrote:
“Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber.”
Now, Justin, that does not settle with me. I have been to the Anne Frank House. It impacted me greatly. It made me cry. I was broken for her, her family, and for all those who felt the effects of the Holocaust. I think if there is ever an example of sin and brokenness in the world, this is one. There is evil in the world. We live in a world where people bomb the Boston Marathon, and I pray for those involved. My heart breaks. I cry out, “Lord, come quickly.”
And, J. Biebs, Anne was a teenager, so if you had been around, she might have spun your records and sang “Baby, baby, whoa” with her friends while riding their bikes.
Please don’t make this about yourself, J. Biebs. You turned what is otherwise a humbling and disheartening moment into something that was all about you.
J. Biebs, you have great influence. People look up to you. They watch what you are doing. You get haircuts named after you. I don’t know this for fact, but I bet people get your name tattooed on them. You are influential. But the world would keep spinning without you.
It’s not all about you.
I should thank you, though, J. Biebs. Not for your seemingly insensitive comment, but because you have made me realize we all have influence.
We all have the ability to build up with our words. We have the ability to influence others to love and serve each other. We can be the one who sits by the student in the cafeteria that is sitting all alone. We have the ability to genuinely care about someone else. We also have the ability to tear down, to post a hurtful comment on Facebook, and we can influence someone negatively. Others carry our words around with them even though we may never realize it.
And it’s not about us, either.
Anne Frank wrote:
“Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.”
I believe this, too. I believe we are good at heart. I will never have to experience the horrors Anne Frank had to experience, so perhaps my hopefulness seems silly compared to hers, but I believe we do not need to be defined by our past. Today we can begin to love others. Today we can choose to stick up for the girl or boy in the hallway who is being bullied. You have the potential for greatness.
So, perhaps this isn’t just an open letter to Justin Bieber, but it is also a letter for you. It is a challenge. You are good. Even if you don’t feel like it, you are an influencer. Choose your words wisely. Open your eyes for opportunities to love others.
Grace and peace,
P.S. J, Biebs, I will take all responses to this in the form of a song written about me. Thanks.