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May 28, 2014 / BTM

It Isn’t About Being Perfect, It’s About Being Redeemed

I recently watched Focus on the Family’s feature-length docu-movie Irreplaceable with my small group.  Irreplaceable investigates what is ‘wrong’ with the family today.  It made the case that as we devalue certain aspects related to marriage – like pre-marital sex, children, commitment, parenting, etc, we devalue marriage and family over all.

One of the interesting parts of the movie is the title.

I went in to the showing thinking that the thesis of the movie was that marriage itself was ‘irreplaceable’.  I could think of all kinds of reasons why.  Statistically, married couples – at least in North America – are richer, healthier, more stable, live longer, have more successful children, etc.  I said statistically this is so; there are always exceptions.

But that’s not how the word irreplaceable’ was used in the movie.  It was the very last word of the film and how it was used was so subtle that I wonder how many people even caught it.  If I hadn’t been deliberately watching out for how it was used in the movie, I might have missed it as well. 


If you watched the movie, you know that near the end, host Tim Sisarich began interviewing people who were not experts in marriage.  He began moving away from what needs to be ‘fixed’ in marriage, or parenting, to listening to how people who had made mistakes or who were in messy situations were working out marriage and parenting as best they could.

I thought that the final message of Irreplaceable was fairly profound, albeit simple.  It’s very easy in North America to aim towards perfection.  We actually think perfection is attainable.   Perfect circumstances, perfect marriage, perfect kids, etc.  But perfection isn’t unattainable.  It’s as elusive as that oasis in the desert that is just a little bit further off, but always out of reach.

Irreplaceable ended with Tim Sisarich realizing that he could not be a perfect parent, no matter how hard he tried.  He also could not perfectly protect his children from the hardships and difficulties and negative aspects of life.  That didn’t mean that he didn’t try his best to make the best decisions and to raise up his kids the best way he knew how.  But his aim was to become a redeemed family, because perfection wasn’t a worthy enough goal.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this since the movie.  I talk a lot in this blog about how my husband and I are looking ahead to try to avoid parenting mistakes and to help our kids get the best shot at life with their faith in tact.  But it won’t be perfect parenting that enables our kids to get there.  Unplanned things will happen.  Messy things will happen to us and to our kids.  We need to find a way to use these imperfections and problems and disappointments as pieces in the puzzle of life.

And the way to do this, according to the movie, is through God.  Because, as the movie states at the very end, God is the one who is truly irreplaceable.  God is the one who can redeem the messy, disappointing, problematic, broken and sometimes even evil things that happen to us when we let Him.  You may always live with the sting and the consequences of the imperfection of life, but you don’t have to let them crush you or define you.

Focus on the Family is following up Irreplaceable with a small-group study called The Family Project.  It is aimed at exploring these issues in more depth.  That’s all I know about it, but our small group plans to try it out.  I think it’s likely to be a great resource for parents and families.




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