More From Jane Reid

October 24, 2019 by Jane Reid (Oregon, USA)

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions,and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight. . . . Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit in me. — Psalm 51:1-4, 10 (NIV)

In today’s meditation, I wrote about my older brother and me. My need to forgive him in order to be clean before God was great. Our childhood was not easy. Each of us grew up thinking that the other was loved and talented, while we ourselves were worthless. Our mother believed that thinking well of yourself was vanity and the worst of all sins. Our father believed he could enforce virtue by harsh punishment. My brother’s offenses against me were the common, small stuff of childhood, but our parents did nothing to intervene. Growing up I learned to hide, to be a good girl, and to never make waves.

It is hard to recover from that kind of childhood, but somehow God rescued me. I became a Christian in 1979. By then I was a young mother, and I reflected on my past because I wanted my children to love one another. I began earnest prayer and Bible study, I taught Sunday school, and I sang in the church choir. My eyes were opened to my brother’s pain from our shared past, and I wanted to help him. The unresolved hurts were hurting us both. God’s word says we are to forgive and keep on forgiving—we can’t be healed if we don’t forgive, and we can’t be forgiven if we don’t forgive. Holding onto hurt is like hugging a porcupine. The quills dig in deeper and the pain grows.

My act of sending my brother the ashes of our mutual pain, back when I was still a new Christian, freed me. I sent him a copy of today’s meditation as a celebration of the established fact that we are both free. He remembered the ashes and sincerely apologized for the pain he caused me. I told him it was long gone and that nothing was left but love. I asked my brother to forgive me, too, for my part in our childhood problems.

I am far from perfect. But God has forgiven me and is faithful and just. (See 1 John 1:9.) God forgives us when we confess our sins and forgive those who have hurt us.

Please pray for my brother. He has Parkinson’s disease. He and I have grown especially close since our father died of that same disease in 2011. We live thousands of miles apart, on opposite sides of America. Thank you.

You can read more of Jane’s writing at

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