The Forgiveness Cross (Part One)

A life-changing moment occurred for me when I learned about the Forgiveness Cross illustration during Christian counseling. In this episode, I share part one of this powerful illustration.

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SHELLEY. Welcome back to the Broken Crayons Still Color podcast! I’m your host, Shelley Hitz and in this episode you will hear an excerpt from the introduction video that corresponds with my book. Now in this video and in video 1, I share one of the most powerful illustrations that I’ve ever heard in my life, it’s about the forgiveness cross.

So, this is going to be part 1 and then I’m going to share part 2 later in this podcast. I pray that God uses this episode in your life and that you might even be able to use these illustrations when you’re talking about your faith to others, so enjoy.

SHELLEY. I just want to tell you right from the beginning here this book was not my idea (LOL) if I could have gotten out of it and not written this book I would have because I put it off almost a year. I knew in the depths of my heart I was supposed to write it, I started it and I even put it off for pre-sale the fall of 2015 on Kindle as an independent publisher, you can do that and I broke my contract with them because I never finish the book.

Have you ever had something where you know like, you know God wants you to do something but it’s really hard for you to be obedient in that moment? Delayed obedience is disobedience. However, God’s grace covers even our disobedience and they. I’m so thankful God’s grace covers that for me today and that this book is finally coming to fruition and that you’re here with me today what an amazing testimony.

But this book all started from a Facebook post, it was this very Facebook post April 19, 2015, I posted this little meme it’s just a quote graphic I created them in word swag and I, I posted this because I love this theme Broken Crayons Still Color, and in the post I shared a little bit about my testimony and I shared my life verse which is Isaiah 61:1.

Well my friend and at that time she’s my publicist Pam Roach, she said Shelley “I love that book cover, that book of yours” and I’m like which book? She like “you know the book Broken Crayons Still Color.” I’m like “Oh! That’s not a book, that was simply a cool graphic, that wasn’t a book cover.” She like “Shelley, you got to write that book, oh my goodness you’ve got to right that book!” and so thanks to Pam Roach planting that seed, I am writing this book today.

This is the theme verse of my life and is because of what God has done in and through so many of the broken pieces in my life. Isaiah 61:1 says “The spirit of the sovereign Lord is on me because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.” And, if you go back and read Luke 4 you’ll actually see Jesus, is quoting this verse and He says He’s come to fulfill this, this is what Jesus has come to fulfill for each one of us, can you see I get excited.

Jesus has said He has set me to bind up the broken hearted, that’s what Jesus has come to do, that’s His life assignment, that’s what He came to do was to bind up the broken hearted and believe me as I worked with teen girls and women and adults and, and people around the world, I met a lot of people that have broken hearts and yet many time we just shut it down, we don’t deal with it we just move on and I have done that for years.

Says “to proclaim freedom for captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” And then in verse 4, I love this picture this is a picture of what God begin to do in my life and what He wants to do in yours as well. What He wants to do with all our broken pieces, says “they will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated. They will renew the ruin cities that have been devastated for generations.” So, I want to start by saying that I believe forgiveness equals Drano. Why do I say that?

Well, alright confession. Many times my husband and I shower gets clogged up with hair and guess whose hair it is, it’s mine and you know early on in our marriage like even now, like we don’t love doing stuff around the house cleaning and all of that, early on in our marriage, we were kind of let things go coz’ neither of us like to do it, so our shower gets backing up and it will be like, okay we need to go to the store and get drano and yeah, we’d forget, we’d forget, I didn’t have a good system at that time or list or anything we’ve forget and I’d be on the shower the next time and I’d be like inching out my, my ankles and I’m going to be like Oh this is so gross! I need to go to the store and get drano.

And then when I’d finally go to the store and get the drano, it was like why have I been waiting so long to do this, why did I wait for so long because once I applied that drano it released the clogs and I was able to take a shower in piece again (LOL).

But you know what, sometimes I think we do this in our spiritual lives where we know there are certain things that are clogging our relationship with God. God speaks to me in illustrations and pictures, and so I picture it like there’s this pipe between God and me, and this pipe is my relationship with Him and at times there can be clogs that clogged up that pipe. There’s often stuff in our lives that clogs up our relationship with God, it’s almost like a blocks it can block that communication with God and it can often feel like our prayers are even hitting a brick wall. Have you ever felt that way where you’re like is anything even getting through?

Now there can be many reasons why we may feel that way it may just be a feeling but sometimes there are I believe things like blocking that those clogs in between us and God, just like in my shower not allowing the water to flow smoothly and those clogs not all the time but are often our own sins, the ways we’ve missed God’s mark and His standard for our lives. Unforgiveness towards others can also be one of those clogs keeping us from God and I’m going to go into that even more deeper in the next video for chapter 1.

But therefore, that’s why I call forgiveness God’s extra strength drano to remove that wall between Him and us, whether it’s forgiveness for what we’ve done or offering forgiveness to others for what they have done to us. Oh my goodness! Forgiveness has been one of the biggest turning points in my life and that’s why I knew I had to start with this topic from the very beginning in this book broken crayons still color.

The verse in John 1:9 is what I call the drano verse and it says “but if we walk in the light we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from how much sin? All sin” nothing is too big for God to forgive. If we say we are without sin we deceived ourselves and the truth is not in us but this is the drano that we can apply to any of the clogs that come between us and God related to forgiveness it says “if we confess our sins, He, God is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from how much unrighteousness? All unrighteousness” you can have every single one of your clogs remove right now today.

And I love to think about it like this so, you know I grew up in a church I was a PK, anyone know what a PK is? Pastor’s Kid and I was in church the very first Sunday in my life, I was at every camp, every conference, everything that you could ever imagine and I grew up in the church. And I said a prayer and I committed my life to Christ when I was 7 years old, it was my dad who baptized me he was the pastor but I think I don’t know I grew up kind of thinking like you say that prayer, you ask forgiveness you know, you start that relationship with God and then you’re good.

You know, hey! I’m good to go. But that’s not quite the way it works (LOL) it is for salvation I mean that’s how you know we start our relationship with God. But just like any relationship it’s an on going relationship and we need to continue to ask God for forgiveness many times on an ongoing basis for the sin in our life because we’re not going to be perfect this side of heaven right. And I’d like to think of it like this like, if you stop taking a shower for a week and then you went in to church or in to work or into somewhere where a lot of people knew you, do you think anyone would want to sit next to you? (LOL), do you think anyone would notice that you haven’t taken a shower for seven days, like how would they notice, what would be the signs that you have not taken a shower or cleanse your physical body in 7 days.

Some of the signs would be odour right? BO (LOL). You might have, if you have hair like me, you might have greasy hair and the hair or greasy skin you know there’s going to be signs that were not physically cleansing our bodies. And, I believe that if we choose to ignore our relationship with the Lord and choose to ignore the on going stuff in our lives and we’re not coming to Him on a regular basis, just say Lord, you know I know that I was really, as I was scrolling through Facebook today I really was having this jealousy come over me, Lord please forgive me for that jealousy or Lord I was really dealing with pride today, please forgive me for that pride like if we’re not clearing the pipe, clearing the clogs between us and God in a regular basis I also believe it’s going to start to show, how will it start to show?

Maybe irritability, maybe we’ll start to get really irritable at the people in our lives, maybe we will start to you know have more anger or more impatience or you know just all these things that start to rise to the surface when we’re not coming to God on a regular basis asking Him to apply His extra strengths right now and just clear the pipe, clear the way, and have that on going relationship with Him.

When I was in counseling, Christian counseling, the counselor shared with me this illustration of the forgiveness but the first part of the forgiveness cross is the vertical part and that represents asking God’s forgiveness. This is me in front of the private charter plane on my way to Haiti, I think it was in 2010 after the major earthquake that happened. Did you guys remember, there was a huge earthquake that happened in Haiti and I was asked to go, at that time I was still practicing as a physical therapist to go for medical relief, there were no commercial flights allowed in to country yet at that time.

And so they chartered a private plane and our little medical crew, doctors and nurses, physical therapists and others got on that plane to go and to help those that have been broken by the earthquake. But let’s just say I was getting on the plane that day and the flight attendant was like welcome aboard this plane, I have a backpack for you and I, is really important that you wear this backpack keep it on the entire flight and have a really great flight. So she gives me this backpack I put it on, I go sit on my seat, but all of the sudden it’s like Oh, this is uncomfortable there’s this big lump in my back and then I see everyone else is taking off their backpacks they’re making fun of me and also the flight attendant walks down the aisle trips, spills coffee, guess who’s she’s spills it on, me and I’m the only one that has my backpack on. Man, like in you know, what if she told me that the backpack was going to make my flight better and I thought no way! This isn’t making my flight better it’s only making in worst.

So then what do I do with the backpack, I take it off put it under the seat and say this is not for me, if it’s supposed to make my flight better it’s not for me. But let’s say scenario 2, I get on the plane and the flight attendant says “Shelley, here’s a backpack I need you to wear it for the entire flight because at any moment I, I can’t tell you exactly when, the, the pilot is going to ask you and you’re going to be required to jump out of the airplane, if you do not have this backpack on, you will die.

Do you think I’m going to take the backpack off when it gets uncomfortable, do you think I’m going to take the backpack off when she spills coffee on me, do you think I’m going to take the backpack off because everyone else is, has taken their backpacks off pointing at me and making fun of me, ain’t no way! You will not be able to peel that backpack off of me. And what was the difference, the difference is what the purpose of the backpack was, it was to save my life not just to make my flight more comfortable.

I think sometimes and I have this growing up in the church we’re told you know, put on Jesus Christ and it’s just going to make our life better. You’re going to have love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, gentleness you know all the fruit of the Holy Spirit, you’re going to have a better life it’s going to make your life better and believe me the fruit of the spirit is amazing. But that is not why we put on the Lord Jesus Christ, you know this, we’re promise trials, we’re promise like in this world we will have pain, we will have trials but take heart He has overcome the world.

We put on Jesus Christ because we know there is a jump coming ahead. There is a time when Jesus is coming back, there is a time when we are going to be required to jump. We don’t know the time, we don’t know the day but if we are prepared we have a relationship with Jesus Christ we don’t have to fear, we know we will be ready for that jump and we will be ready for heaven and eternity.

The bible says in 2Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body whether good or bad.” So that means mother Teresa, Billy Graham, Obama, you know Hitler, everyone is going to stand before Christ one day, we all will.

Do you know what this is a picture of, this is a picture of security tags on clothes. Now let’s say I went in I try one of these pairs of pants and I was like “Ow! These are so fun, I love them” and then I walked out of the store without paying for them. What’s going to happen? Yeah, an alarms going to go off and they’re probably going to arrest me for shoplifting (LOL) but if I go… Well, who is the only person that can take that security tag off, it’s the person that checks me out right. And she can take off or he can take off that tag, I’ll pay, you know the money and then I can walk out without any problem.

Now the security tag is like our sin and many times we just think all I just need to be a good person, I just need to go to church, I just need to just do good things and then I’ll get to heaven. But if we go to heaven with our sin that security tag of sin, we walk through those gates one day of heaven, I don’t know exactly what it’s going to look like, what it’s going to be, when it’s going to be, it could be tomorrow but if we go there with our sin thinking we could just be a good person, there’s going to be an alarm that goes off so to speak.

But who is the only one who can take away our sin, it’s Jesus, it’s the sacrifice He made for us on the cross. He die for our sins so that we can take our sins to Him just like we would take to the person at the check out counter, we can take our sins to Him and He is the only one that can remove them, just like that security tag we try and try and try what’s going to happen it’s probably going to ripped the pants, it’s probably going to ruin them or that things going to explode, an inks going to go all over the place. And if we try to deal with our own sins in our own strength it is not just going to work, Jesus is the only one that can take away our sin, it says “Just as man has destined to die once and after that to face judgement so Christ was sacrifice once to take away the sins of many people and He will appear a second time not bear sin but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.”

I love this verse, “If you Oh Lord kept a record of sins who could stand, but with you there is forgiveness, therefore you are feared.” And God says in Hebrews 10:17 “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember, how much no more.” It’s like he puts our sins in this ocean of grace and forgiveness and He puts up a sign that says “No fishing allowed.”

This is something I heard from Corrie Ten Boom, she’s already passed away but she’s one of my favorite mentor and she gave this illustration of “No fishing allowed” He put them in a sea of forgiveness however, we have to ask Him. And I want to ask you today, are you ready to unclog your pipe? Are you ready, whether or not you’ve already started a relationship with God and you just need a fresh start today, you just need to get things right with Him or whether this is the very first time that you’re committing your life to Christ, you’re putting that backpack on, you’re going to be ready for that jump, when Jesus returns you are going to have a relationship with Him, He’s going to take away your sins because you are coming to Him and asking for Him it’s a gift, it’s free gift, it’s something any of us can have and if this is you today I’d like you to just pray this prayer with me, there’s no magic in this prayer.

You can pray your own words, I encourage you to but I just want you to pray this prayer with me, if this is something you are ready to do.

Lord, I admit I’m a sinner and I put my faith in You alone and what You accomplished for me both by dying on the cross and by being raised to life. I surrender my life into Your hands and I make You Lord over every area of my life. I asked You that You would fill me with Your Holy Spirit, lead and guide my life from this day forward, I asked this in Jesus name, amen.

And if you did make this profession of faith for the very first time, I encourage you to get a bible or dust off your bible start reading it you know start in a chapter like John in the new testament, find a church that teaches the bible and then tell someone who is a mature Christian and let them know that you’ve done this today and then, they can help answer any questions that you may have. So in closing today, I want to share something that I was inspired from Pinterest, have you guys ever went on to Pinterest you get inspired you see a project you’re like yes! I saw this project with crayons I thought oh! This would be perfect for this book and this project I’m doing, and (meeeh) I have a Pinterest fail. Oh my goodness, like it didn’t turn out anything like it and I sent a picture to my mom, and my sister, and my sister’s like blessed its heart (LOL), I was like that’s when you know it just didn’t work out.

However, I want to tell you today God can take our broken pieces and He doesn’t have a Pinterest fail, He creates a masterpiece. What you don’t know in your life right now, is that you may only see the broken pieces but God see’s the big picture. He’s able to take our broken pieces and bring healing and freedom, He is able to create something beautiful, He’s able to create a masterpiece. Isaiah 61:1 again says “The spirit of the sovereign Lord is on me because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor, He has set me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” And He wants to do that for you today.

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