Group: Nashville TeaM
Ham: Greetings, children, I am Ham and I thank you all for coming again this evening. We are happy that you have all persisted in coming together week after week and we are happy that you are maintaining group cohesiveness and togetherness.
Tonight, we are wanting to discuss gifts. Think of your life as the gifts you give and the gifts you receive. You are all a combination of this giving dynamic. The law that governs human lives is only concerned with giving. When you give into the world, then you are automatically prepared to receive likewise from the world. The only aspect of this dynamic that you can influence is the giving end. You may experience receiving in different ways in different times and you can consciously facilitate receiving, certainly. But, in actuality, as the universe is constructed, you must first be prepared to give before you can be prepared to receive goodness.
If you desire to receive good things for the Father's hand, first you must be practiced in the giving of good things from your hand. Practice giving goodness and never tire of it, for as you dispense goodness to your fellows, so are you prepared then to receive good things from the world given through the Father.
As you know, the Master taught that you must put no bounds on your forgiveness. This is a difficult and trying thing to practice in life, for you are always able to find justification to put boundaries on your tolerance, and on your forgiveness. But, this is not the way of the spirit. The Father fragment is always pushing you into situations and circumstances with your fellows that require you to give when it would be easier to withhold. Does the Father put boundaries on his forgiveness or his love? No, he does not. If you are to walk behind the Master, so too must you learn to forgive when it would be easier to condemn and to give when it would be easier not to. The Father brings his children together and he pulls them apart. So, in this understanding those people who irritate you most, for whom it is hardest to deal with, and who deride and insult you, are all in your lives to teach you a lesson.
Returning harm for harm, or insult for insult, is not the way to walk in the path of the Lord. But though his path is harder on the face of it, you, yourselves, are being prepared to receive greater goodness for that goodness which you can bestow.
If you put boundaries on the love you are willing to show your fellow man, that boundary is on yourself. That boundary limits the love and the goodness that you can receive. Human beings tend to treat each other unthinkingly and somewhat cavalierly with little regard. And you tend to justify these actions by thinking that you are too busy to take time with each other. I want you to think through, the next time you are tempted to deal harshly with someone, the limits you are putting on yourselves.
You should all be thankful for those who take with ingratitude, who abrade your pride, those to whom it is hardest to give and for whom it is hardest to bestow love, for they are those who will give you the greatest blessings when you overcome your human tendencies and take up the burden and go the extra mile. This is the end of this lesson for tonight. Shall we have a brief discussion period concerning this lesson beginning with Rebecca.
Q: Well, we have had a house guest that has kind of presumed on our hospitality and so I been thinking we should tell him this or that or whatever. I feel terrible. I guess it is always our first instinct is to defend yourself, or your stuff, or your money.
Q: I guess we will just have to try to be better.
Q: You know, it shows how they take care of us.
Q: Always give us what we need at the crossroads.
Ham: Very insightful, yes, exactly.
Q: There were two different people today that I was tempted to be mean to but was not. Both, I think, are suffering from mental illness. One is a elderly neighbor woman who stands out in her yard and yells insults all the neighbors. We have tried to help her, but she could understand that and now she hates us. The other is my mother's husband who is making her life miserable. He is suffers periodically from bouts of mental illness and he is almost impossible to help. I would like to help him, but he will not take help and he just gets angry and belligerent. I find these hard situations to handle, when someone needs help but will not take it from you. It is hard to break though the wall of anger and hatred, hard to see what you can give them in that case.
Q: Or a trade.
Ham: Yes, exactly.
Q: [Asked a specific question about interpersonal problem]
Ham: These little things can be worked out, but the attitude must remain open and giving. When I am speaking of giving, I mostly thinking of spiritual giving, of kindness, not so much of material things.
Ham: Yes it is.
Q: I remember my dad saying as a kid, are you going to let them treat you that way, and until he said anything I did not think they were messing around with me. It was painful to his ego that his son was being treated that way.
Q: I guess the main thing that comes to my mind about giving and unwillingness to give and intolerance is in cases where people are afraid to give themselves, selfish or however you would say that. The cases that come to mind are people who are fearful of not having enough, and I am talking material here. I have a problem giving to these people. I tend to resent their fear of being willing to give. It is something I need to work on. Does that make sense?
Ham: Because they are unwilling to share something with you or others, then you become less willing to share with them, is this correct? [[[laughter]]]
Q: Yes it is. I sounds sort of like a little kid.
Ham: Once again, material things cannot be totally given away. Each person must make their way in the world of material reality and must work and so forth. So, these are issues where negotiations and give and take are normal and proper. However, the spiritual giving cannot be bargained for. Love is not something that can be earned.
Q: It is always a gift. It is common for people to mix them up, the spiritual and the material, when dealing with each other. I do not have trouble loving them, but giving them material things, I have a problem with it.
Ham: There are always those in society who would take the easy way and presume to live off the sweat of others and these are unfortunate, lost souls. So, perhaps you are correct to question whether your natural generosity is actually the best thing in a material sense. But this really is another whole question. Like with a child, you can love that child and still restrain him from harm, harm that he would do himself. Are you understanding?
Q: I was thinking that my father was a real hard person to be kind to. I learned a lot, taking care of him, about being kind and seeing past how he treated me. I learned a lot from that, and that's good, I have also learned, from my crazy neighbor, that being kind to people is not necessarily the gift they want. I would not do it any differently, but I try to see that there is a lesson in her acting the way she does.
Ham: You don't always get the results you expected.
Q: Yes, I have tried to see that maybe there is some other lesson in this, like how she affects the people around her. As far as dealing harshly with people and giving to people, I find that I have a hard time knowing what is appropriate. I run into so many needy people that part of me feels guilty that I am not doing more. I could spend my entire day at it, but obviously I can't. Then there are the street people that I know I should be kind to that come up and ask for money, or that come up and ask for a job, well money. When I deal with them sternly I feel guilty. I feel like I have to protect myself since some of the are dangerous. I have a hard time knowing what is appropriately kind.
Ham: No, this is understandable. Once again, remember to separate the material from the spiritual so that you don't feel guilty for living a normal middle class life. And once again, the giving of the material may not aid these humans in any way.
Q: Helps them buy drugs, mostly. What I have been trying to do in each of these encounters instead of beating myself up, look back and see if there is anything I could do differently next time, I figure that way I can come up with a good way to handle the situation, I hope. The world is so full of needy people that you cannot possibly meet all their needs. . . . .
Q: It certainly gave me a lot to think about, I never had someone react so violently to an act of kindness. It makes me think if she really needed help, would I go help her. If she feel in her yard, would I go help her get up. I have had to think about it, It has been a real interesting situation. I think I would like to live in the country.
Ham: You should not feel guilty that you have limits, You are a human being, only, made of the same stuff and largely the same abilities as those whom you wish to help. You are a naturally sympathetic person, and you are drawn to play Florence Nightingale. But, you must learn to accept yourself, who you are, where you are in life, and also to accept those who tug at your skirts, who they are and where they are. You can pray for them, and give them spiritual comfort, but you cannot change their circumstances. That they will have to do. Is this helping you understand?
Q: I think that is good advice, and I know I need to learn to not take responsibility, not visiting everyone in the neighborhood. I take responsibility for too much, and I know that. If I do something nice, I want a brass band. Some banging of gongs, like she went and visited an old lady. I want the recognition too.