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Love Yourself
A Quick Music Discussion Guide for Parents
06/02/2016

Dynamic ImageMain Point:
Loving attitudes and actions build us up, while selfish attitudes and actions destroy our relationships

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

When you first hear the title of Justin Beiber’s latest hit “Love Yourself,” you think that it’s going to be an uplifting and positive thinking song.

But…not so much

It’s not an EVIL or over the top torrent of negativity, but the Beibs definitely has some strong feelings he processing through! As well, he is touching on a very common situation here, and that is getting along with someone you care about. What’s the trick to getting along? Is Biebs right? What does the Bible say?

As of this writing, the song’s music video has been viewed more than 618 million times on YouTube!

IMPORTANT NOTE TO PARENTS: We at The Source for Parents believe that certain elements in our youth culture can serve as good discussion jump starters with students. At the same time, we would never hope to introduce students to a negative influence that they haven’t already encountered. This balance is a delicate one. In our experience most students, churched and unchurched, keep pretty current with music and music videos. Thanks to YouTube, MTV.com, and iTunes, the most popular music videos and songs are free to access only a click away.

Since this song is so popular, your kids have heard it. When you sit down to discuss this song, make sure to have a copy of the lyrics available (below) and access to the music video (which we provided in the link below, as well).

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.

The Music Video:
It can be found online at https://youtu.be/oyEuk8j8imI



Song Lyrics:

“Love Yourself”

For all the times that you rain on my parade
And all the clubs you get in using my name
You think you broke my heart, oh, girl for goodness' sake
You think I'm crying on my own. Well, I ain't
And I didn't wanna write a song
'Cause I didn't want anyone thinking I still care. I don't,
But you still hit my phone up
And, baby, I be movin' on
And I think you should be somethin' I don't wanna hold back,
Maybe you should know that
My mama don't like you and she likes everyone
And I never like to admit that I was wrong
And I've been so caught up in my job,
Didn't see what's going on
But now I know,
I'm better sleeping on my own
'Cause if you like the way you look that much
Oh, baby, you should go and love yourself
And if you think that I'm still holdin' on to somethin'
You should go and love yourself
And when you told me that you hated my friends
The only problem was with you and not them
And every time you told me my opinion was wrong
And tried to make me forget where I came from
And I didn't wanna write a song
'Cause I didn't want anyone thinking I still care. I don't,
But you still hit my phone up
And, baby, I be movin' on
And I think you should be somethin' I don't wanna hold back,
Maybe you should know that
My mama don't like you and she likes everyone
And I never like to admit that I was wrong
And I've been so caught up in my job,
Didn't see what's going on
But now I know,
I'm better sleeping on my own
'Cause if you like the way you look that much
Oh, baby, you should go and love yourself
And if you think that I'm still holdin' on to somethin'
You should go and love yourself
For all the times that you made me feel small
I fell in love. Now I feel nothin' at all
And never felt so low when I was vulnerable
Was I a fool to let you break down my walls?
'Cause if you like the way you look that much
Oh, baby, you should go and love yourself
And if you think that I'm still holdin' on to somethin'
You should go and love yourself
'Cause if you like the way you look that much
Oh, baby, you should go and love yourself
And if you think (you think) that I'm (that I'm) still holdin' on (holdin' on) to somethin'
You should go and love yourself

Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):
    Q: When it comes to this song, what’s “Love Yourself” about?
    A: The song is basically a strongly worded diatribe that Bieber is writing to a former girl with a very clear message of anger. It is obvious that he has not come to a place of forgiveness and needed to express his hurt and pain.

    Q: Is it wrong to be angry at someone and express it?
    A: Yes and no. Yes, if it turns into bitterness that Satan uses as a way to attack you and harm your relationship with God. No, if it is a reaction to a sinful action or attitude that needs to be brought to light- i.e. Jesus clearing the Temple.

    Q: Why is the video/song so popular?
    A: This song addresses the area of relationships and getting along with others, which is a common struggle for everyone. We all experience disappointment and hurt, and we need to figure out healthy ways to deal with that.

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.

Introducing the Music Video:
This is one of the more popular songs/videos out right now, and the message is about as straightforward as you can get.

For Deeper Discussion:
(If your kids seem into diving in deeper and looking at what the Bible has to say on the subject, the following discussion guide can help take you there.)

Want help getting your teenager engaged in conversation? CLICK HERE for a helpful article from our "Parenting Help" page providing you with 3 Essentials to Talking with Today's Teens.

Transitional Statement:
Anyone who has been in an important relationship can most likely relate to this song- maybe that’s why the video has over 600,000,000 views? And it’s obvious that Bieber must have had some painful experiences and hurtful conversations with Selena-ahem- I mean some random girl.

But at the end of the day, holding onto bitterness might not be the best way to work through the pain of relationships, and considering how important getting along with others is in life, we need to take at look at the wisdom that the Creator of all relationships offers in His Word. Let’s talk about that now.


More Discussion Questions:
  1. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: Before we dive in, everybody take a few minutes and talk about your first ‘best friend’ experience.
  2. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What was your first fight with that friend about?

  3. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Why do you think God created us with such a deep need for friendships and relationships?

  4. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Do you think writing the song has helped him feel better about the pain from that experience? Why or why not?

  5. Read the following passage:

      Galatians 5:14-15

      For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.

  6. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: How many commandments do you think are in the ‘whole law’? (note: Scholars agree that there are 613 laws in the Old Testament)

  7. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: How can the one single command of loving our neighbor as ourselves sum up 613 other ones?

  8. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: How does the Bible define ‘neighbor’? (i.e. Parable of The Good Samaritan- all people are our ‘neighbors’)

  9. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What does it mean to ‘bite’ and ‘devour’ in a verbal way?

  10. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Do you think that there is ‘biting and devouring’ going on in ‘Love Yourself’? Why or why not?

  11. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What are the main differences between someone who loves themselves vs. someone who loves others?

  12. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: What is one specific way that we as Christ followers can focus on loving our neighbors and avoiding ‘biting and devouring’ each other?

Wrap Up:
Like Justin Bieber, we all will face relational difficulties that might tempt us to bite and devour other people with harsh words and unkind thoughts. It’s at those times we need to focus on our calling to love our neighbor and forgive them so that we can enjoy the freedom from bitterness that Jesus purchased for us on the Cross.


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