“I don’t care about your affair, I care about your sobriety and I depend on every member of this group, including you, to care about mine.”
Sherlock was demanding another AA member stop violating his anonymity. Being Sherlock Holmes (albeit updated and living in 21st Century New York), he had deduced the offender was having an affair — and was using the deduction as leverage to get the man to stand down.
But, as Sherlock says (in Elementary, Season 3, Episode 8), he doesn’t really care about the man’s affair. Just his sobriety. That’s why they’re there, in AA.
My sister pointed out to me: this same principle may be what’s wrong with a lot of churches today, why we aren’t really building believers with an intimate friendship with Jesus who derive their identity and their joy from being His beloved.
Because we are concerned about the affair. And a lot of other stuff in addition to their relationship with Christ — which ought to be our main concern. And we ought to be able to depend on everyone else at church to be concerned about our salvation, too.
Somehow, with Christianity as the largest religion in the West, we got off track about what it really is and isn’t.
It’s not about a regular worship service, upright behavior, a list of rules, programs for children and youth, making friends … It’s not even about good works.
It is about Jesus and the state of our relationship with Him.
When the church turns its focus to anything else, it seems to me, people feel fulfilled about doing good works, or guilty about doing bad things, or happy to have Christian friends, or sad that they can’t seem to make any real friends, or happy their kids are “in church” or sad that their kids stray from church —
But what they aren’t is aware that they can be in daily, intimate communion with the Creator. And that’s the one thing we really need to be concerned about!
What if we take a lesson from AA and Al-Anon, I think, and make our churches a safe place to focus on one thing: receiving the love of Christ?
Because once people have received the love of Jesus in a genuine way, the other stuff follows — or it doesn’t — but in the end that doesn’t matter, because all that matters is Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.