CR Picnic

Monday, July 30, 2018
Message Notes:


“Sort of my confession”


Source of inspiration:  John Fisher:  “12 Steps For The Recovering Pharisee

(Like Me)”


1.    Read the “12 Steps” from book (sheets)

2.    SAY:  “Few things in life rival the THRILL of passing judgement on another human being.”

a.    I don’t think a day goes by that I am not tempted to pass judgement on others.

b.    In my state of Denial, I tell myself that I am justified to be “righteously indignant” which is just another way of saying :  “Self-righteous”.

c.     If you are like me (even a little bit) you hope that it is not obvious to others  -  may be subtle – only in the mind.

d.    Problem for me is that I KNOW that this “mental condemnation” or “sentencing” is usually the mind set of people who are not willing (or prepared) to have their own actions, thoughts, and motivations brought into the light.

                                     i.     For Example:  I may judge my wife for working too much at home

                                    ii.     My brother for his political views

                                  iii.     My sister for not being financially responsible

                                  iv.     My Niece/Nephew for living alternative lifestyles and marrying people of their same gender

                                    v.     Even my dog for puking on the carpet

                                  vi.     I condemn the paperboy for tossing my paper under my car

                                 vii.     Then I condemn the people in the articles for being liberal, stupid, ignorant, arrogant, or sinful.

                               viii.    I find it especially fulfilling to lump a whole group of people together and dismiss their views as unenlightened - or worse – intentionally threatening to everything I believe is sacred and true.

e.    It’s funny that the world “generally” seems unfazed with my assessment of it –  AS LONG AS: I remain distant from a personal knowledge of any individuals in the world.

                                     i.     Most of you know that I struggle with ANGER.  Most mornings, Behind the wheel of my car is where I find so many inept drivers who all should have failed their driving tests.  “Idiots !!”



1.    But, Miraculously, I arrive at McDonalds in one piece, and find myself in line behind a person who can’t read, and who lacks any ability to make decisions, knowingly making me late for staff meeting.

2.    I get behind the wheel and back on the highway.  Waiting (patiently) in a long line to make a left turn there races up a woman in a hurry to cut into the line at the very beginning of the line.  I smile and let her in - all the while thinking:  “What arrogance to pass the 20 cars waiting in line to turn, and thinking that SHE should be granted access at the head of the line so her time is not wasted.  Doesn’t she know that my time is just as precious as hers?”

                                    ii.     Have you ever noticed how everything that is wrong with the world is always someone else’s fault?  Well, if we are honest about it, the truth is:   We like it that way.

1.    We take great pleasure in criticizing the smallest faults in others, while overlooking large chunks of our own self-contradictions – and we do this without blinking an eye.

a.    Enter the Pharisee – like me

                                                                                           i.     Forever the self-righteous,  Never the guilty.

b.    This is why a Recovery Model like CR is so appropriate for Pharisees who do not want to be Pharisees anymore.


2.    “Recovering Pharisees”  (like me) need to have people around them who will tell them the truth – holding up mirrors.

a.    This is most valuable part of the Celebrate Recovery group model – speaking the truth in love.

b.    Just showing up each week forces you to encounter a different view of yourself – an honest view.

c.     At CR  - you are putting yourself among people whom you might have judged in the past – or at least thought as lower than yourself.  This is why “just showing up” each week is so hard.

                                                                                           i.     You walk into a room of people who all have a problem, and you immediately say to yourself:  “I don’t belong here.  I’m really not this bad.” “These are the people who have hit bottom and have nowhere else to go.  Me … I’m different.   I’m only checking this out.  I won’t need to be here that long.”



                                                                                          ii.     Most start out this way. -  Typically because they have never before had a good look at themselves.  Or – to put it another way:  because they have never really taken a good / honest “INVENTORY” of themselves.  (sound familiar?)

                                                                                        iii.     We NEED people around us who are going to tell us the truth.  ONLY THEN can we establish the kind of relationships where we “Give others the benefit of the doubt.”   Because more often than not when all is said and done we are glad we have done just that.  When we put ourselves in other people’s shoes we are much more likely to show empathy.

                                                                                        iv.     POINT here is that Empathy is a great antidote for our tendency to judge others.   When we judge others we are implying that we are perfect.  And perfect people are lonely people.  No one wants to be around you if you are perfect.  (joke:  Take it from me – I know.)

                                                                                          v.     Having empathy for people you don’t like is a huge step for the Pharisee.  BUT, if you can do it, you are on the road to recovery.



                                  iii.     Let’s look back at the first time you walked into our Monday night CR meeting.

1.    Maybe you were thinking:  “This is a big mistake.” “What was I thinking?”  “ This is too awkward.”  “Look at all these losers.”

2.    But, if you hang in there, you soon discover that this group is made up of people from all walks of life.   There are I.T. professionals, moms, bankers, carpenters, landscapers, factory workers, secretaries, plumbers, doctors, and laborers - the wealthy & the unemployed – and yes even ministers.

a.    As you listen to them and talk with them you soon discover similarities between their lives and your own. 

b.    I am not an alcoholic, but I do struggle with anger and I’m telling you there are some frightening parallels in our struggles. 

                                                                                           i.     My drive to NOT be “one of those people” is what makes me act like a PHARISEE. 

                                                                                          ii.     As a Pharisee, there is no doubt that the need to judge others is at the level of an addiction. 

                                                                                        iii.     We (I) judge without thinking sometimes – and it’s a habit that I need to have God “chisel” out of me.

                                                                                        iv.     Being in a room full of people, who like me,  want to kick this self-righteous habit, is my best chance to shed my Pharisee Robes and choking tunic.

                                                                                          v.     You may find yourself (like I did) astonished that you suddenly start to like – even love these people.   You will begin to see yourself (and them) in the LIGHT OF TRUTH.  – as God sees them.

1.    You begin to accept them

2.    You admit your own faults (that they may have helped you see.)

3.    And eventually, there comes a time when you will fiercely defend these people.  You may even be willing to die for them – the very same ones you judged when you stepped foot into your first CR meeting here at CLA.



So, why am I sharing all this? 

Because I want you all to find the Grace I’ve found.   My hope and prayer is that each and every one of you will live your life without the masks we so willingly put on.   Get rid of the mask – Stop being a Pharisee.  And celebrate the wonderful, honest world of Recovery.


Thank you for letting me share.




Dismiss to open share groups:  (Lori w/newcomers + family & friends)


You are dismissed when done or you can just hang out here if you want.