Maybe Repentance is Losing Your Marbles

They said, “Tell the truth.”  When you were too young to know.

So you watched what They did.  

You wanted to tell the truth.  You know how that works…we all do.  You could feel something, a deeper reality than even They understand when They told you those things, so you knew it was real, but you couldn’t quite get your mind around it.

So you watched what They did.

And what They did was build.  Fortresses, semi-autos, molotov cocktails, battering rams, sharpened daggers, night vision goggles, burglar tools, moats, laser sights, surveillance equipment, submarines, and, of course, armor.  

And They attalked…a lot.  We all know what that is—kind of like talking, kind of like attacking.

See, the problem is that They were telling the truth.  But They should have been telling the Truth.  You knew this, deep down inside, when They first told you, but you didn’t understand.  You could feel Truth back then and you wondered why it didn’t feel right, just telling the truth.  

Now that you’re Grown Up and a member of They yourself, you may have lost that awareness.  

But don’t be too hard on yourself.

Because remember, childhood was shot in Super Eight, soft focus, black and white.
Todays play in cheap video, tinted green and blown out bright.

And all the days and weeks and years
Of managing your inner fears
Has trained the child inside of you
To build a shrine up to the truth

I know what you’re thinking.  “It’s just a capitalization…what’s the difference?”



The truth is Your thoughts.  Your experiences.  Your Google searches.  What Your textbook said.  Your Mom and Dad’s opinions.  Your judgments.  Your culture.  Your strategies.

The truth is like a glass jar, more or less clear, and everyone’s is uniquely shaped.  Everything that happens to you and everything you experience is like a marble that goes into that jar.  We think Our marbles are precious stones.

When you tell the truth, you are telling about Your jar, Your marbles.  How someone else’s jar compares to Yours.

“The green ones are the best!  See, I’ll show you…”

“There are more blue marbles than any other color.”


Jesus will break them.  

It’s what He does.  He’s got a heavy carbon-steel ball peen hammer in His belt that He carries everywhere He goes.  It’s why we’re scared of really following Him. 

Because, you see, the Truth is not a glass jar of marbles.  

The Truth is that none of our marbles are worth protecting.

The Truth is that our jars are made to hold God, not marbles—heavy marbles can even distort our jars, and they were fashioned into unique beautiful shapes for a reason.

The Truth is that when our jars are full of marbles, we can’t see God, only marbles.

The Truth is…well…Jesus Himself.

I have a friend who decided to tell the Truth.  He had to take out some of his marbles and put them on an anvil for Jesus to smash.  

I’ll bet it was scary.  I’ll bet he misses those marbles.  

Some of them might have been his favorite ones…some of them might have justified resentment, which tastes like pizza, and everyone likes pizza.

Some of them might have rationalized blame, which feels like giving someone else a heavy weight to carry so that you can ignore it.

Some of them might have enabled manipulation, which feels like power, like a big V-8 engine, like cocaine, or playing tackle when you're one of the Big Kids.

Some of them might have been strategies to draw other people into a trap.  Then, SPRING!  Like that board game we used to play when we were kids—gears, cranks, a boot on a stick kicks a bucket, ball goes through a chute, down the hole in the bathtub, the diver falls into the bucket of water, and the cage falls onto the mouse. Clever!  

And clever feels like you’re special.

You are, of course.  But not because of your better mousetrap.

Remember, each jar is unique.  God’s creativity made you special.  Not yours.
And now my friend now has fewer marbles in his jar.  And the fewer marbles he has, the more room there is for God to fill up that unique shape.  And God shines and sparkles like the sun, much brighter through that glass than any marble could ever.

So maybe he doesn’t miss those marbles after all.  Maybe they weren’t jewelry.  Maybe they were chains.

I want to be like my friend.  I want the courage to take some marbles out and let Jesus smash them.  Because now he has some room to tell the Truth instead of just the truth.

And when you can tell the Truth, you don’t have to worry.  You don’t have to attalk. 

You don’t have to manipulate.  Blame is irrelevant.  You don’t have to worry that you’re not smart enough, attractive enough, rich enough, thin enough, sophisticated enough, likable enough. God is filling your jar for you.  And He fills it with Authority.  With Power.  Real power.

 They said, “Don’t lose your marbles…you’ll end up in the nuthouse!”

Not if Jesus smashes them.  If you let Him do it, you’ll end up in His Father’s House.  And I have heard that there are many rooms there.