Lionel Richie was told 'Jesus is Love' would ruin his career

WikimediaLionel Richie

Top-selling singer-songwriter Lionel Richie was honored Sunday with a BET Lifetime Achievement Award, and shared a thought-provoking message with the star-studded audience and millions of TV viewers.

In his acceptance speech, Richie revealed that the medley of songs that were performed in tribute to him faced opposition before they were released.

"These are all the songs that they told me would ruin my career," Richie said on stage.

The tribute included John Legend singing "Hello" and "Still," Ledisi singing the Commodores' hit "Brick House," and Yolanda Adams performing a moving rendition of "Jesus is Love."

Richie said that Adams' cover was spectacular.

"After listening to [Adams sing] 'Jesus Is Love,' I'm glad I sang the song first," he admitted. "Otherwise, I would not be up here. That was absolutely amazing,"

Gospel artist Kurt Carr also applauded Adams' performance.

"Didn't Yolanda Adams (@Yolandalive) church Lionel Richie's 'Jesus Is Love' during this #BETAwards tribute? I felt God through this TV!" he tweeted.

Richie also shared words of wisdom for today's entertainers before performing his hit singles "Easy Like Sunday Morning," and "All Night Long."

"Soul is a feeling, not a color," he said.

"Talent is a God-given gift and not a category. And out of the box, out of the box is that magical place where talent—true talent—goes to live and thrive and breathe.

"And may you never give that up as long as you're in this business."

Richie is currently traveling the U.S. and Canada on his "All the Hits All Night Long" tour. His next performance is July 7 in Atlanta, and he will perform in Dallas, Tampa, Washington D.C., Toronto, and many other cities through August. Former NBC's "The Voice" judge Cee Lo Green will join him as a special guest.