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Numb
A Quick Music Discussion Guide for Parents
06/27/2007

Dynamic ImageThe Song: “Numb” by Linkin Park

Main Point of Discussion: Jesus cares about us…even when we don’t.

Vital Info Before You Get Started: (The following should help you contextualize this very popular song so you can have a great discussion about it with your kids.)

  • Linkin Park achieved mainstream success in 2000 with its debut album, Hybrid Theory, which has since sold 15 million-plus copies. The band’s follow-up, Meteora, topped the Billboard 200s album chart in 2003. The band’s latest album, Minutes to Midnight, released in May 2007, topped the Billboard charts in its debut week, selling nearly 625,000 copies. The most controversial track on the album is “What I’ve Done.”

  • The outline here is based on the music video for “Numb.” You can easily view the video on YouTube. Ask the tech person at your church how to play the video on a laptop through a projector.

  • At THE SOURCE FOR YOUTH MINISTRY we like to use pop culture references to start biblical conversation (like the Apostle Paul used culture to start conversations about Jesus in Acts 17). This music video might be a good discussion starter in some circles. Use your discernment. If you want, you can print out the lyrics (below) and give each student a copy to refer to.

  • Above all, don’t appear as if you have a “canned” discussion in your head and rattle off questions like a teacher giving a pop quiz—your kids get enough of that in school. This is a guide, primarily—not a verbatim script. Just familiarize yourself with the content here and start a conversation in the most natural, unforced way you know how.

Lyrics:
    I'm tired of being what you want me to be
    Feeling so faithless lost under the surface
    Don't know what you're expecting of me
    Put under the pressure of walking in your shoes
    (Caught in the undertow just caught in the undertow)
    Every step that I take is another mistake to you
    (Caught in the undertow just caught in the undertow)

    [Chorus]
    I've become so numb I can't feel you there
    Become so tired so much more aware
    I'm becoming this all I want to do
    Is be more like me and be less like you

    Can't you see that you're smothering me
    Holding too tightly afraid to lose control
    Cause everything that you thought I would be
    Has fallen apart right in front of you
    (Caught in the undertow just caught in the undertow)
    Every step that I take is another mistake to you
    (Caught in the undertow just caught in the undertow)
    And every second I waste is more than I can take

    [Chorus]

    And I know
    I may end up failing too
    But I know
    You were just like me with someone disappointed in you

    [Chorus]
    I've become so numb I can't feel you there
    Become so tired so much more aware
    I'm becoming this all I want to do
    Is be more like me and be less like you

    [Chorus 2 (2X)]
    I've become so numb I can't feel you there
    I'm tired of being what you want me to be

Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):

Q: What’s the message of this song?

A: The singer is tired of being on the losing end of relationships and has given up on any kind of vibrant, good life…and become emotionally numb as a way of getting through the days.

Q: How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to this song?
A: Jesus says that through him we can have life in abundance—that’s the opposite of being numb to the things going on around you.

Q: How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this song to actually living out those opinions?
A: If we’re not living as though God has redeemed us and empowered us, we’re not living the full lives God intended us to live—and we need to take a deep look inside at what’s holding us back, whether that’s self-image or self-esteem or any number of other issues.

Where to Take It from Here:
Wherever it feels natural. If these questions lead to a longer discussion on the topic, wonderful! (There’s a guide just after this paragraph that helps you do just that.) If your kids are barely uttering grunts, don’t get discouraged—the next time it feels right, try out another song. Keep engaging them.

For Deeper Discussion: (If your kids seem into diving in deeper, the following discussion guide can help take you there.)

CLICK HERE if you want to look at a quick training article on small groups and drawing questions out of young people—you may find much of the information applicable as you go through this subject with your family members.

Transitional Statement:

Some of you might be familiar with Linkin Park. In 2003 they released Meteora. “Numb” was the most successful single from that CD, reaching #11 on The
Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on both Mainstream and Modern Rock Charts. As we watch the video, circle the words that you think carry a negative feeling.

Pass handouts (with the lyrics printed on them) to students.

More Discussion Questions:

  1. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: Let’s take a second and find out what words you circled from the lyrics that point to negative emotions. (Parent – answers include: tired, faithless, lost, under the pressure, smothered, afraid, a disappointment)

  2. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Have any of you ever felt like the girl in that video? Have you ever felt as though every step you take is “another mistake” in someone else’s eyes?

  3. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: If Linkin Park had made their video with you starring in it, what parts of your life would we see? (Parent – Distribute index cards to family members and ask them to be honest. No one will see the cards unless a family member wants to share what was written.)

  4. Say:
    A lot of times negative things that happen in our lives (like the things you wrote down) cause us to become numb. We stop caring, we stop trying, we give up.

    Let’s look at someone else who felt numb. The woman we are about to look at felt like a failure, she felt alone and rejected. Then she met Jesus, and everything changed. Let’s see what happened.


    READ THE FOLLOWING PASSAGE:

      John 4:5-18

      5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

      7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?" 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

      9 The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans)

      10 Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."

      11 "Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?"

      13 Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

      15 The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water."

      16 He told her, "Go, call your husband and come back."

      17 "I have no husband," she replied.

      Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true."

  5. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What else do we know about this woman from this passage? (Parent—the answers should include: She’s a Samaritan [an enemy of Jews], religious [she engages in a religious discussion], and she’s had five husbands and is living with a man now [she has a terrible reputation]).

  6. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What do we know about the girl in the video? (Parent—the answers should include: No one understands her, she does not have a good relationship with her mom, she does not have friends in school – as a result…she is numb.)

  7. Let’s see what happens next.

    READ THE FOLLOWING PASSAGE:

      John 4:25-30

      25 The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us."

      26 Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he."

      27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, "What do you want?" or "Why are you talking with her?"

      28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 "Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

  8. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: Like the woman at the well, we can truly trust in Jesus’ ability to heal our numbness and give us a sense of love, acceptance, and value. What is one thing we can do this week to turn over the things on our cards to Jesus and receive His love and acceptance?

    • (You may want to end the lesson here. If so, skip ahead to the wrap up. If you want to finish the story, continue through the rest of the questions.)

    Let’s read the rest of the story. I love this part...it shows us that no matter where we have been or what we have done, God can use us if we begin to care.

    READ THE FOLLOWING PASSAGE:

      John 4:39-42

      39Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did." 40So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41And because of his words many more became believers.
      42They said to the woman, "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world."

  9. ASK ONE FAMILY MEMBER: According to the passage what happened when the woman told her story?

  10. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: Can you think of at least one friend who needs to hear about the acceptance of Jesus? Are you willing to tell them your story? Let’s take a moment to go around and pray specifically for that person, and then I’ll close in prayer.

Wrap Up:
Tonight we had a chance to watch a cool video and see how this modern “story” is very familiar to a story that happened 2,000 years ago. Two women alone and rejected both had stopped caring and became numb. Both were desperately looking for something.

I wish we knew what happened to the girl in the video. Did she find love and acceptance when she ran into that church? Did she begin to get along with her mom? Did she find friends in school? We just don’t know.

On the other hand, we do know that the woman at the well had a real encounter with Jesus, and she found love and acceptance in him.

We all have things in our lives that bring us down. Some are things that we do; some are things that have been done to us. Tonight we wrote down some of those things on cards. Tonight the same Jesus who offered acceptance and love to the woman at the well— numb to her pain—offers it to us. The great thing is that just like the woman at the well, we don’t have to earn God’s forgiveness. The Bible tells us that the cure for numbness is simply putting our trust in Christ as our only hope of salvation.


Close in Prayer

By Todd Pearage


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