“I let my broken relationships dictate the way I acted toward people and the way I treated them! I let bitterness, jealousy and fear run my life!!!!” he wrote in an open letter. “I am extremely blessed to have people in the past few years help me build my character back up reminding me of who I am and who I want to be!!!”
But a source close to Bieber tells PEOPLE that things are better, thanks to his renewed spiritual walk.
“I don’t think people understand how exhausted Justin has been, not just physically, but emotionally and mentally,” the insider tells PEOPLE. “At some point, burnout happens. But he’s getting better now; this time off has helped ground him and center him, and he’s finally surrounding himself with people who have his best interests at heart.”
And who are the people guarding Bieber’s best interests? The insider says that several people in leadership at Hillsong Church in New York City — including pastor Carl Lentz — have stepped in to become his support system.
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“Justin has a really deep faith, and he truly loves God,” says the source. “He has found a church family that accepts him and loves him for who he is, not for his fame or money.”
The insider also adds that the church has been instrumental in helping him make the right choices. “Justin needs a church that will say, ‘We love you, we accept you, but you need to tone down some of your behavior,'” the source says. “He also needs someone to remind him – actually we all need someone to remind us – that it’s not all about you.”
With the new influences in life, those around Bieber say that they’re seeing an improvement in him. “
He’s doing better,” says the source. “He likes the fact that there are people who will call him out. He’s a very good kid, and he responds really well if someone says, ‘Justin, you’re being a punk. This is what you need to do.’ He’s receptive to moving in a positive direction, and Hillsong is ready to help him with that.”