Introduction To CAIRing Grace Groups
This is read at the beginning of each meeting!
Welcome to our CAIRing Grace Group. We are a support group of people committed to the process of learning to experience the truth of our identity as a "new creation" in Christ (*1). We are being made new in the attitude of our minds (*2), with a growing faith in the ability of God's loving Grace to transform our lives through His Spirit. This commitment is both to ourselves and others who desire this growth and change. Anyone is welcome to join C.A.I.R. groups, regardless of what leads to the desire for change.
This Grace is God's perfect love for us as His precious children. "In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ,"(*3). It is our responsibility to accept this free, unearned gift and relationship that He offers us in order that we may be transformed into His likeness. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast."(*4.) Neither is Grace to be used as an excuse to continue destructive patterns and behaviors. "But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature."(*5) We can experience a recovering life in Christ through the process of choosing to embrace the adventure of becoming more like Jesus, with the attitude of grateful humility made possible by God's loving Grace.
Grace allows us to start where we are starting in the present. "But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope."(*6) We will keep our eyes on the Lord and continue relaxing into the Holy Spirit as we are transformed into His Nature. We call this growing process recovery, learning a set of attitudes, beliefs, principles and tools, which help us to embrace the Person and Nature of Jesus as our big brother. "For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers."(*7) This process of exercising the wisdom of these resources in our daily lives allows us to develop our spiritual nature. Growth can be uncomfortable, awkward and slow, but by believing and relaxing into God’s Plan, our growth is possible!
CAIRing Grace Groups are not therapy! We try to create a safe place to practice and share a growing transparency in our "becoming", as a new creation, with others who are also committed to growing. With grace we take our masks off a layer at a time, as we realize that "we are not defined by our story, and our story affects where we are starting today." We can remember that our true identity is not determined by how we are doing or what we are feeling at a given moment (*9). When we are sharing from our old nature, we are given grace filled respect and support for reconciling with our true identity in Christ (*8). We are free to focus on learning and growing in Him.
The safety comes from a lack of judging (either ourselves or others). "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus"(*10). Sharing needs to be in the form of "I" messages rather than judgmental "you" statements. The safety is supported through acknowledging the sharing from others, sharing from our own personal experiences, and sharing God's Word and tools from the C.A.I.R. Handbook with loving grace and humility in the healing process. We bring these feelings and attitudes of safety with us to the meetings. It is an active bringing rather than a passive finding. If our "normal" response to being nervous is to be quiet and "invisible", we can share that as our starting point. If we often hide behind words or details of our story, we can begin to listen quietly to our feelings. We are free to experience differently.
Facilitators are not therapists! We are all responsible for supporting and respecting the safety. There is no place for direct advice, putting others on the spot, or directly confronting members except in issues of safety. It is important for all members to focus on the topic being discussed (no cross-talk). . The safety also comes from respecting the confidentiality of all that is shared in the meetings (What's said here, stays here!), from honoring the anonymity of all members, and from a growing commitment to mutual respect and valuing in the meetings (*11). We need to respect the importance of silences in the meeting while we consider what is being shared. Being aware of the limited time, we try to keep our individual sharing to approximately five minutes, respecting the need for others to share.
After the hour of more structured learning, we break into small groups to informally discuss issues related to our growth into recovery. It is a time for sharing and supporting each other in our learning process. The same "safety" is sought in the small group discussions.
(*1) - Galatians 6:15; (*2) - Ephesians 4:23; (*3) - Ephesians 1:5; (*4) - Ephesians 2:8; (*5) - Galatians 5:13; (*6) - Galatians 5:5; (*7) - Romans 8:29; (*8) – 2 Corinthians 5:17; (*9) – Romans 7:20; (*10) - Romans 8:1; (*11) - Mark 12:31.
The Fundamental Principles of "2,000 year old New Program include a growing commitment to the following attitudes:
- Being non-judgmental, open and accurate.
- Believing that we are all Fallible Human Beings.
- Understanding that we react to life through our Perceptual Filters rather than directly to "reality". "For now we see through a glass, darkly"(*1) - 1 Corinthians 13:12.
- Acknowledging and accepting the Reality of the Present.
- Believing in Mutual Respect and Valuing.
- Nurturing a healthy parenting relationship with the "wounded" parts of ourselves.
- Nurturing a growing, loving relationship with a God of Grace and Truth, as revealed in the Nature and Person of Jesus Christ.
- Maintaining a commitment to experiencing a recovering life in Christ, for ourselves and for others.