Meet the Parent

Some of you may remember the comedy “Meet The Parents” which came out in theaters about the turn of the millennium. Robert DeNiro plays ex CIA covert ops agent, Jack Byrnes, who keeps a very watchful eye on Greg Folker, (Ben Stiller), who is courting Jack’s daughter, Pam (Teri Polo.) Add Blythe Danner as Mrs. Byrnes who attempts to mediate, and Owen Wilson, as the old boyfriend, Kevin, and the dysfunctional family portrait is almost complete.

Jack keeps his family and friends close, within the ‘circle of trust’, as he interrogates Greg and documents his lack of honesty, fidelity, and loyalty to the Byrnes family values. Of course, Greg is frustrated because he can’t live up to his would be Father-In-Laws manipulative standards, and as he falls short of expectations the scenes spin toward disaster. Finally Jack lays the verdict at Greg’s feet - “You are outside of the circle of trust!” Which means, “You’ve got no chance with my daughter!”…”You’ll have to work hard to get back into my favor”, and “You’re on the outside lookin’ in boy!” Of course Greg and Pam’s interpersonal commitment to each other is royally tested, but not before producing part deux, “Meet the Folkers”, which came out in 2004.

As a father who gave his only daughter’s hand in marriage this past Spring, I can sympathize with some of Jack’s sentiment here, if not his methodology at times! Is there ever a young man good enough, honest enough, trustworthy enough for Daddy’s little girl? Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt (Tux in this case J), and got the pictures - several hundred!

But because God is gracious, the family inheritance we have been adopted into does not depend on the measurability of our faithfulness, nor the degree of our honesty, nor the proof of our loyalty, but rather His. His faithfulness, His truth, His loyalty to His own love for us. As the adopted children of God and co-heirs in Christ, we don’t have to experience Greg Folker’s frustration and separateness! (Although sometimes Christians settle for that in the darkness of their own consciences.) Our Father loves us, accepts us, and invites us into the abundant relationship He has with His beloved Son in the Spirit. We are not outside the circle’ looking in. The Son loves us because it has always been the Father’s plan to prepare a bride for his son, and God love’s planning weddings and family!

Eph 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. (NIV)

You can rely completely on the love and faithfulness of the one who has taken you into the Father’s circle of trust. Not because you have it all together, but because He has always loved you – and He has always planned for you to be in His family album!

Steve Schantz, Pastor
NBCF Orlando, Fl