Ham on Gifts

schlundg at ctrvax.Vanderbilt.Edu schlundg at ctrvax.Vanderbilt.Edu
Wed Dec 4 06:59:43 PST 1996


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 you money.

Q: You are never so undignified as when you are defending your
dignity. When you show you ass is when you are defending your ass.

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: Jarad.

Q: I was wondering if what you are talking about is not values. Until
you have given something, you will not value that thing. You probably
won't accept it as a gift.

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.

Ham: Once again, we are not talking about the consequences for the
other person, only the consequences for yourself. If you give and
require a certain effect, is that truly giving?

Q: It is more on the order of negotiating or manipulating, depending
on the situation.

Q: Or a trade.

Ham: You must only remain with the attitude of giving and of
forgiveness to open your heart to greater goodness.

Q: If the best I can do is to be understanding and tolerant given
their craziness, then sometimes that is the best gift I can give.

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.

Ham: When I am speaking of giving, I mostly thinking of spiritual
giving, of kindness, not so much of material things.

Q: It is hard to change life long patterns of behavior.

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.

Ham: Yes, tremendous untold suffering has been caused on your world in
the defense of honor. Vontis

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?


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.

Q: 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: Yes.

Ham: Just keep in your mind that they are two different things,
materialism and spiritualism.

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

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

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: The world is so full of needy people that you cannot possibly meet
all their needs.

Q: She brings up something interesting with the lady down the street
that Jesus never followed anyone up.

Ham: Yes. You are only responsible for your giving not for the actions
of the person you are giving to or the results.

Q: It is always sad when you try to be everything to certain people,
it's that thing they say in AA, let the real God do it.

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

Q: You would find poor people out there to adopt.

Q: Can you comment on that, feeling like you should do more and more
to help people and reaching the limits of what you can do, and then
feeling guilty about that.

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 Nightengale. 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.

Ham: We are happy that you have shared with us this evening, all of
you, and are glad to experience the wisdom and the insight that each
one of you holds. There will be no other questions. Jarad, I will
arrive Wednesday 10:00 and until next week, farewell.

David G. Schlundt, Ph.D. (615)322-7800
Associate Professor of Psychology (615)343-8449 Fax
Vanderbilt University schlundg at ctrvax.vanderbilt.edu
301 Wilson Hall
Nashville, TN 37240
Prayer is not a technique for curing real and organic diseases, but i
t has contributed enormously to the enjoyment of abundant health
and to the cure of numerous mental, emotional, and nervous
ailments. Prayer has turned many an irritable and complaining
invalid into a paragon of patience and made him an inspiration
to all other human sufferers. -- The Urantia Book

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