From Practicing the Presence chapter V by Joel S. Goldsmith DOWNLOAD PDF
The Master has instructed us specifically as to the ways in which we can serve our fellow man. He emphasized the idea of service. His whole mission was the healing of the sick, the raising of the dead, and the feeding of the poor. The moment that we make ourselves avenues for the outflow of divine love, from that very moment, we begin serving each other, expressing love, devotion, and sharing, all in the name of the Father.
Let us follow the example of the Master and seek no glory for ourselves. With him, always, it was the Father who doeth the works. There is never any room for self-justification, or self-righteousness, or self-glorification in the performance of any kind of service.
Sharing with one another should not be reduced to mere philanthropy. Some people wonder why they find themselves left with nothing when they have always been so charitable. They come upon lean days because they believe that they have given of their own possessions; whereas the truth is that “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”
If we express our love for our fellow man, realizing that we are giving nothing of ourselves, but all is of the Father, from whom every good and perfect gift comes, we shall then be able
to give freely and discovered that with all our giving there yet remain twelve baskets full left over. To believe that we are giving of our property, our time, or our strength reduces such giving to philanthropy and brings with it no reward. The true giving comes when giving is a recognition that “the earth is the Lord’s,” and that whether we give of our time or our effort, we are not giving of our own, but of the Lord’s. Then are we expressing the love which is of God.
As we forgive, divine love is flowing out from us. As we pray for our enemies, we are loving divinely. Praying for our friends profiteth nothing. The greatest rewards of prayer come when we learn to set aside specific periods every day to pray for those who despitefully use us, to pray for those who persecute us, to pray for those who are our enemies not only personal enemies because there are some people who have no personal enemies, but religious, racial, or national enemies. We learn to pray, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” When we pray for our enemies, when we pray that their eyes be opened to the Truth, many times these enemies become our friends.
We begin this practice with our personal relationships. If there are individuals with whom we are not on harmonious terms, we find, as we turn within and pray that brotherly love and harmony be established between us, that instead of enemies, we come into a relationship of spiritual brotherhood with them. Our relationship with everybody then takes on a harmony and a heretofore unknown joy.
This is not possible as long as we feel antagonism toward anyone. If we are harboring within us personal animosity, or if we are indulging in national or religious hatred, prejudice, or bigotry, our prayers are worthless. We must go to God with clean hands in order to pray, and to approach God with clean hands, we must relinquish our animosities. Within ourselves, we must first of all pray the prayer of forgiveness for those who have offended us, since they know not what they do; and secondly, acknowledge within ourselves: “I stand in relationship to God as a son, and therefore, I stand in relationship to every man as a brother.” When we have established that state of purity within ourselves, then we can ask the Father:
Give me grace; give me understanding; give me peace; give me this day my daily bread give me this day spiritual bread, spiritual understanding. Give me forgiveness, even for those harmless trespasses which I have unwittingly committed.
The person who turns within for light, for grace, for understanding, and for forgiveness never fails in his prayers. The law of God is the law of love, the law of loving our enemies — not fearing them, not hating them, but loving them.
No matter what an individual does to us, we are not to strike back. To resist evil, to retaliate, or to seek revenge is to acknowledge evil as reality. If we resist evil, if we refute it, if we avenge ourselves, or if we strike back, we are not praying for them which despitefully
use us and persecute us. How can we say that we acknowledge good alone, God, as the only power, if we hate our neighbor or do evil to anyone? Christ is the true identity and to recognize an identity other than Christ is to withdraw ourselves from Christ consciousness.
Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
MATTHEW 5:44, 45
There is no other way to be the Christ, the Son of God. The Christ-mind has in it no criticism, no judgment, no condemnation, but beholds the Christ of God as the activity of individual being, as your Soul and mine. Human eyes do not comprehend this because as human beings, we are good and bad, but spiritually, we are the Sons of God, and through spiritual consciousness we can discern the spiritual good in each other.
There is no room in spiritual living for persecution, hatred, judgment, or condemnation of any person or group of people. It is not only inconsistent, but hypocritical to talk about the Christ and our great love for God in one breath, and, in the next breath, speak disparagingly of a neighbor who is of a different race, creed, nationality, political affiliation, or economic status. One cannot be the child of God as long as he persecutes or hates anyone or anything, but only as he lives in a consciousness of no judgment or condemnation.
The usual interpretation of “judge not” is that we are not to judge evil of anyone. We must go much further than that; we dare not judge good of anyone either. We must be as careful not to call anyone good as we are not to call anyone evil. We should not label anyone or anything as evil, but likewise, we should not label anyone or anything as good. The Master said: “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one that is God.” It is the height of egotism to say: “I am good; I have understanding; I am moral; I am generous; I am benevolent.” If any qualities of good are manifesting through us, let us not call ourselves good, but recognize these qualities as the activity of God. “Son, thou art everwith me, and all that I have is thine.” All the good of the Father is expressed through me.
One of the basic principles of The Infinite Way is that good humanhood is not sufficient to ensure our entry into the spiritual kingdom, nor to bring us into oneness with cosmic law. It is undoubtedly better to be a good human being than a bad one, just as it is better to be a healthy human being than a sick one; but achieving health or achieving goodness, in and of itself, is not spiritual living, Spiritual living comes only when we have risen above human good and human evil and realize: “There are not good human beings or bad human beings. Christ is the only identity.” Then we look out on the world and see neither good men and women nor bad men and women, but recognize Christ alone as the reality of being.
Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. MATTHEW 5: 2 3, 24