It might not be the popular thing to do ... but forgiving Joe Mixon is the Christian thing to do ... so says Justin Bieber's pastor Carl Lentz.
Lentz -- who's also a spiritual advisor to a TON of NBA stars including Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith -- says he understands the outrage over newly released video of Mixon brutalizing a female Oklahoma student during a 2014 incident, but says God's will is clear.
"As Christians, we have no choice BUT to forgive."
Lentz essentially believes Mixon has shown remorse and has taken steps to grow from the situation -- and thinks at his core, the football star is a "good man [who] did a bad thing."
Here's Lentz's statement in its entirety:
"Our culture has moving goalposts when it comes to what is 'forgivable.' Right now, domestic abuse is apparently, almost a stain on somebody's life they cannot remove. I don't believe that."
"As Christians, we have no choice BUT to forgive. Beyond that, I too understand people's rage and anger."
"Here is the thing though: the guy did everything his school told him to do, everything THE LAW told him to do, so I would ask what exactly do people want from Joe? Should he stop living? Should he go hide, To really 'prove he is sorry?'"
"I think Oklahoma would be within their rights to cut him, or did what they did, keep him and play him. And people can choose to be this guys fan, or not. I get it, both ways. I live by this code."
"You can judge a person's ACTION/failure/mistake on face value. But you judge a person's heart and CHARACTER according to their RESPONSE to the correction OF that failure.. that's when you find out what a person is all about."
"The difference is 'Oh that is a man, who stole.' Vs 'Oh that is a THIEF,' etc...So according to that code, It would appear that yes that ACTION was terrible."
"But his response to it has been humble, has been transparent, has been honest."
"Leads me to believe that a good man, did a bad thing. This isn't a bad man doing bad things with no remorse. He has his whole life in front of him and my hope would be that he keeps proving who he is. And that the action was an aberration to his character, not definitive of it."