1954 Chicago Closed Class by Joel S. Goldsmith, Tape 64A
Good evening! I think this question will fit in with our work tonight. Now, this is a subject that should be approached in a very relaxed manner; in a very relaxed thought. We’re going to talk for a minute about prayer. No, I mean about God, and that’s going to lead us to the subject of prayer.
First of all, we want to take nothing for granted, and so we will ask ourselves this question; “When I go to God — When I go to God, what do I expect? What do I want, when I go to God? What kind of a God have I got? What can God do for me? What can God be to me? What is the place and function of God, in my life? Have I ever thought about that, seriously?” The normal concept of God, is that God is a Super Santa Claus. God sits, whether up on a cloud or within me, and evidently has all of my good, and naturally, is withholding it from me. Why “naturally”? I don’t know. I’d be kind of shocked if He wasn’t. I’d have no reason to go to God, if He wasn’t withholding from me. Because usually, in going to God, I’m going to get something; my health, or my supply, or my companionship, or my opportunity. Yes, normally that’s why I go to God. God has these things, but is not granting them to me. And so, my prayer is, “God, grant me health.” “God, grant me supply.” “God, grant me companionship.” Perhaps, sometimes, if it doesn’t come quickly enough, we might say, “God, I’ll be an awfully good boy if you’ll do this. I’ll never sin again. Cross my heart and hope to die.” Or, “God, if you do this for me, I’ll tithe with you. I’ll give you ten percent of my income for the rest of my life; or as long as I remember.” Or, “God, I’ll go to church regularly.” Or, “God, I will pray regularly.” Or, “God…”; well, something or other. All, for what purpose? That God may grant unto me that which I deserve, which I need… I wouldn’t go to God and ask for it if I didn’t think I deserve it. I deserve it, and I need it, and God has it, and God is withholding it. And now, there is some kind of a prayer that I can pray that’s going to get God to loose it. Or, there’s some kind of a treatment that will turn the trick. Or perhaps — Or no, “I’ve just heard about a wonderful practitioner. I’m going to that practitioner. That practitioner seems to be able to get anything from God.”
Now remember that this isn’t as funny as it sounds; that this is the attitude of most of us, even now, with our enlightenment; it is the attitude of many of us. much of the time. We have in mind a God who can bestow good, but God isn’t doing it. We may even censure ourselves, and say, “I’m to blame. I really haven’t deserved it. I remember, I wasn’t as good to my mother as I should have been.” Or, “I think I did something wrong to my sister in law.” We actually believe that there is some evil act of omission or commission, and it is for this reason that God is withholding our good. Even many physicians will tell you today that nearly one half of the ills of the world are caused by a guilt complex. People actually are holding themselves in condemnation, sometimes for some serious offense that they’ve committed in the past, but most often for inconsequential acts of omission or commission that, even if God had a good memory probably has forgotten by now.
Strangely, God has no memory. God has no memory of our ills. God never punishes sin. God never, at any time in the history of the world, has punished a sinner. Every sinner is punished by his own act of sinning, and not by any act of God. Oh, I’ve heard people complain that when the traffic officer caught them, and the judge fined them, that of course it was the judge that did it, or the traffic officer that did it. It never was the fact that they were violating the law. Now, as a matter of fact, no traffic officer ever punished a person, and no traffic judge ever punished a person. It was the violation of the traffic law that brought the punishment. Had there been no violating of the traffic law, there would have been no arresting and there would have been no fining. Let’s be honest about that; that no policeman ever punishes us for anything, and no judge ever punishes us, or ever has punished anyone; the crime we have committed brought about the punishment, not the judge and not the officer. And so it is, God has never punished anyone. But there are certain laws of God; if we violate them, we pay the penalty of that violation, and God doesn’t even know that the law’s been violated. We are aware of the violation, and of the penalty. So never, in any problem that you have; never hold the thought that God is withholding your good because of some sin of omission or commission, some fault; never believe that you are being punished by any God withholding of anything, else you have not even a nearly correct concept of God.
Now, correct this also; God Is not a giving God, and God is not a withholding God. God never gives anything. God never bestows anything. God is not withholding, and therefor God can not give. You could pray to the sun for sunshine, but the sun is not withholding sunshine, and it has no sunshine to give. The sun is shining. God is being. There’s no use praying to God. God is already Being. Do not pray to God. And do not pray God for anything, else you have not even nearly correct concept of God. God has nothing to give you. God has nothing to withhold from you. God will never give you any more than God is giving you now. If God had something that you required, and is withholding it, God is a monster. If God is waiting for you to be good, or deserving; if God is waiting for you to find the right practitioner, or the right method of prayer, or the right form of treatment, God is a monster. Oh no, God is no monster. God is love. And because God is love, God is forever loving, and there is no love in withholding, and there is no love in punishment. God is love. God is being love. God is life. God is being life. God is not withholding life from anyone. Nor is God going to bestow life, since God is Itself life, and there is no unexpressed life. So God has no life to bestow. That would mean, God up here with a life, and out here a vacuum, and all of a sudden; life. Oh no… No.