After a tumultuous few years which saw him splitting from his childhood sweetheart, get arrested for drag racing in Miami and regularly make headlines for bad behaviour, Justin Bieber decided to strengthen his relationship with God and distance himself from negative influences. He is now paying tribute to the person who played an integral role in helping him turn his life around.
The Purpose hitmaker took to Instagram on Thursday (26 October) to thank his church leader, Josh Mehl, of LA Hillsong for "making him a better man".
Alongside a picture of the pair standing side by side he wrote:"I have learned so much from you, I'm a better man because of you. I'm a better friend because of you. You have been a true example of what Following Jesus looks like and I'm so grateful I get to walk through this life knowing you!"
In 2015 Bieber was baptised into the Hillsong Church by Pastor Carl Lentz at an apartment in Manhattan, New York. He has since attended a string of conferences in Australia – most recently flying out to Sydney earlier in July to worship with his fellow parishioners.
Scores of his 92.4m followers were clearly impressed with their bromance and flocked to the comments section to praise him for showing Mehl some love. "Yeah, good friends are hard to find But difficult to live without.." one person said while another added: "Told a friend years back that Justin is a good lad but got into the wrong company but recently I noticed a change in his life.a life of humility n glory.never knew it was the reflection of Jesus in his lifestyle."
Touched by the online outpouring, Mehl shared a similar image of the pair writing: "Thankful for you. you have taught me more than you will ever know.your kind, your generous beyond words, your compassionate towards others, you love like Jesus.Blessed to know you. WE IN THIS FOR LIFE!!! love u forever."
Mehl is not the only pal supporting Bieber on his road to redemption. It has been reported that the 23-year-old musician has even rekindled his friendship with ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez.
"Justin is happy that Selena found a good guy that treats her well. He has nothing bad to say about The Weeknd," a source told E!News. "Justin is always checking on Selena to make sure she is feeling good. Justin has grown up on many levels. It's nice they are friends and there for each other now."