In the TV series Elementary, a modern remake of Sherlock Holmes, I find an interesting bit of dialogue in an episode called The Rat Race.
Detective Holmes is talking to Watson about something that Watson, played by Lucy Liu, says she hasn’t noticed before. Holmes asks Watson about a recent date. She tells him how she thinks she caught the man lying to her as they talked about whether they had been married before. Watson goes on to tell Holmes, “This isn’t something I would have noticed before I started working with you, but I could swear he wasn’t telling the truth.”
Holmes, showing pride in his understudy, says, “Flexing our deductive muscles are we… It has its costs…learning to see puzzles in everything. They’re everywhere. Once you start looking it’s impossible to stop. It just so happens that people with all the deceits and illusions that inform everything they do, tend to be the most fascinating puzzles of all. Of course, they don’t always appreciate being seen as such.”
Watson says, “Seems like a lonely way to live.” Holmes replies, “Has its costs.”
Am thinking that these lines of dialogue reflect our need for what Jesus was referring to when he said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
By itself, a study in human nature (i.e. criminal psychology) might help us to suspect far more deceit and cover-up than we want to see in ourselves and others. Selectively used, the Bible gives us a crash course.
But the journey of the heart that Jesus describes in his Sermon on the Mount uses those same inclinations to lift us to our need of God. Once he gets our attention to the point that we can see how good he is for people like us, he takes us beyond the loneliness of our own guilty fears and coverup to seeing his merciful presence in the most unlikely places.
Holmes talks about seeing everywhere the puzzle evidence of “people with all the deceits and illusions that inform (i.e. shape) everything they do.” Jesus on the other hand seems to be speaking of those who, being cleaned by the loving mercies of God (Matt 5:7), begin to see God with, in, and around us (Matt 5:8)— for hearts needing reconciliation and peace (Matt 5:9).
If only those who are so afraid of us (Matt 5:10-11), could see us working with someone far more insightful– and far more gracious… than Watson and Holmes.