I recently encountered a man who claimed he was fine spiritually without a regular relationship with Jesus. He felt he had no need for worship or Bible study. He was just fine as he was.
However, when troubles arose with his spouse and children, his life fell to pieces. He became irate when they refused to be there for him on his terms. He stormed and fumed, even threatening litigation to make them do what he wanted. When these threats didn’t work, he walked away and refused to even talk with the rest of the family.
The best way for me to describe this scenario is to say that this was a man without a “Thumb.” I’m saying this in reference to the “Thumbs Up” illustration of relationship priorities. The “Thumb” represents a relationship with Jesus. Like the thumb that touches all the other fingers and makes it possible to grasp things, so also Jesus touches all the other relationships in life and enables us to keep a grasp on them. If we have no relationship with Jesus, it’s very difficult to maintain any lasting hold on our other relationships. And, if we try to fill the place that Jesus should have in our life with family, we will be let down and lose our grip on life.
Jesus gives us the peace and comfort of stability when others let us down. He forgives us when we hurt others and drive them from our lives. He leads us to humbly seek forgiveness from those we have hurt. He moves us to patiently reach out in love rather than hostility and coercion. Jesus enables us to maintain or restore the grasp we have on our relationships with others.
We may claim we’re fine without Jesus. Living without him is even more difficult than living without a thumb.