Justin Bieber has been on a journey of forgiveness over the last year, and according to his friend, pastor Rich Wilkerson Jr., he's on the right path.
The celebrity pastor recently sat down with ET where he opened up about Bieber, who Wilkerson calls "the most talented person" he knows.
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"He's been thrown into a whirlwind that I'll never know and so I think on his journey he's always trying to figure it out," Wilkerson said, regarding Bieber's meteoric rise to fame and childhood spent in the spotlight.
"Anybody who gets put into that limelight gets a bad rap," the 31-year-old minister and author shared. "When you do something good, that gets exploited. When you do something bad, that gets exploited."
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"People aren’t projects, people are people. Projects have a start date and a finish date -- that's not people. People are eternal beings and our job is to love, encourage, affirm," he added. "He's got a heart of gold."
The 21-year-old "Sorry" singer spent much of 2015 trying to get back into the good graces of his fans who were disappointed by Bieber's string of legal problems and high-profile outbursts during the previous year.
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Bieber has been promoting his most recent and highly-celebrated album Purpose, as well as repeatedly addressing and apologizing for his prior bad behavior.
If his recent, critically-applauded live performances and massive record sales are any indication, it seems Bieber has largely found the forgiveness he's been looking for.
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"[Justin] loves people and I think he's trying to walk his faith out," Wilkerson shared. "I'm thankful for him and I'm grateful for the man that he is."
Wilkerson -- who recently released his first book, Sandcastle Kings: Meeting Jesus in a Spiritually Bankrupt World, in November – stars in the faith-based reality television series Rich in Faith, which airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT, 9 p.m. CT on Oxygen.
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