“I’ve got it made.”
That phrase means different things to different people. To you and me, it might mean everything is exactly how we want it, and our cares in this life are over.
To others, it means you’re in the inner circle of some pretty sordid company.
While Robert Borelli was never officially “made” in the Gambino crime family of New York City, he was pretty well connected in those circles. Ultimately a bad crack habit caused him to fall from grace, and it was “angels with guns”, or U.S. warrant officers that finally caught up with him and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Testify against your former associates (some of whom were close friends) in exchange for a reduced prison sentence and enrollment in the witness protection program.
Tough pill to swallow. But it led Robert to question his decisions, and to embrace an intimate relationship with his Maker, Jesus Christ.
Now he shares his story of redemption, both in this podcast, as well as his outstanding book, The Witness: A Tale of the Life and Death of a Mafia Madman.
Regrets from the past? Of course. Who doesn’t have them.
Although he was never officially “made” with the mafia, Robert is “made” fresh by God – for all who are in Christ Jesus are a new creation.
(Click on the time next to each headline to skip directly to that section)
In this conversation w/ Robert Borelli, you’ll hear:
-What’s the reaction “civilians” give when they hear Robert was involved w/ the mafia…04:00
-Why it’s difficult for Robert to reconcile his past w/ the grace he’s received…06:15
-Angels with guns, and time to face the music…08:25
-Virtues we can learn from the mafia lifestyle…14:15
-Why Robert was able to relate to the elderly more than others…18:10
-Testifying against former comrades the turning point in Robert’s spiritual journey…23:35
-What kept Robert from going back to his old lifestyle after embracing Jesus…28:15
-We’re all sinners in need of grace, even if we haven’t committed any atrocities…31:55
-And much more…
–Robert’s website (get a signed copy of the book from the website)
–The Witness: A Tale of the Life and Death of a Mafia Madman by Robert Borelli and H. Scott Hunt (via Amazon, signed copy not available)
I just spent this past week reading one of the better books that I've read in quite a while. And it was co-written, well I suppose it was written by, um, a, I suppose you call it a ghost writer or a collaborator of sorts, but the main inspiration for the book was the person that we're going to be talking to in just a minute.
His name is Robert Borrelli, and I just want to mention the book very quickly because I was just drawn to it. And I heard about Robert with another podcast that I listened to a few months ago. This, I thought this is the kind of person that I want to talk to. The book is titled The Witness, A Tale of the Life and Death of a Mafia Madman.
And he was actually a pretty, he wasn't like, I guess they call it made, I guess if you've got it made, if you've made it into the, the mafia inner workings or the inner circle, I don't know exactly how they call it. Maybe we'll find out once we get Robert on the call in just a minute, but he was pretty, pretty high up there.
He uh, he was connected to some of the big people in the mafia there in New York city, the Gambino crime family. He lived quite an interesting life and quite a raucous life. And it got him into a lot of trouble. Uh, and it caused quite a bit of heartache in his youth and it was just, uh, he just, he was just from what I could see in the book, it was just a pattern.
You get into one of those mental patterns and you just can't get out of it. In his words, he became familiar with angels with guns. And it was those police officers who took him into custody and eventually became a very, very committed Christian. I read the book and I have some questions that I'm going to ask him.
So we'll see how this goes. So let's bring on Robert Borelli.
Borelli: Can you hear me?
James: Yes, sir. How are you?
Borelli: Okay, good James, how are you sir?
James: I'm just fine. Thank you.
Borelli: Can you see me?
James: No, but this is an audio podcast, so it's not necessary.
Borelli: Okay, alright.
James: I have a face made for radio, as they say
Borelli: Okay, haha
James: Which is why I do audio only for my shows.
James: Well, it's good to see you and hear your voice.
Borelli: Well thank you, I do appreciate the time and it’s always a pleasure to speak about what God has done in my life.
James: Now you're in Dallas, Texas. Is that correct?
Borelli: Well, it's Mansfield, but it's out the outskirts of Dallas. Yeah. Yeah. It's in the metroplex area of Dallas.
James: So, if you were to describe it to someone who lives in Vietnam, you'd say I'm from Dallas.
Borelli: Yeah, probably, that's for sure. But I'm not really from Dallas. I'm from Brooklyn, but I'm in Dallas.
James: As we can tell from your accent, you're not from Dallas
Borelli: I didn’t know I had one. Haha
James: [laughs] Native Texans don't speak the way that you speak.
Borelli: Really, no wonder why I’m not communicating good.
James: That's why no one can understand me. First of all, I want to give a little shout out to my friends, Wendy Pett and Todd Isberner, who host the outstanding podcast, Your Biggest Breakthrough. And it was listening to their show a few months ago that I heard about you.
They're doing a really nice job with their show. I thought, man, this is the kind of guy that, what a powerful story. What reaction do you typically get from people? Like say that you meet someone from the, from the first time down there in Dallas and, um, You get to know them well enough that you share a little bit about your life.
What's the reaction that you get when you share that you were involved in the mafia?
Borelli: Well, that's kind of the reason why somebody had told me, I need to write a book because people who know me now can't really identify or imagine that I used to be the guy that I tell them I was. And then people back home, can't see or know a lot of things that I'm doing now, other than the last, maybe five, six years of putting a lot of stuff out there.
Borelli: So what's one of the reasons was to let people know about the power of God when he said Jesus Christ is Lord and savior. So it's for people like back home, who I'm not saying that a lot of them are lost, but I believe a lot of them that were in my lifestyle weren’t saved, that's for sure; And then also the ones that I hear who was saved, Uh, and maybe dismiss people who, or don't think people like a guy like I was could get saved.
You know what I mean? So it’s a message of hope basically is what I always try to do. So the reaction sometimes it's like, yeah, I can't believe that he taught me to believe that you were that guy.
James: Do they see like shock? Like they hear the word, I mean, do you, do you tell them that you were in the mafia and they. What's their reaction when they hear the word mafia?
Borelli: Well, it’s all the time? I don't introduce myself like that. You know,
James: of course
Borelli: But, obviously people are getting to know me and then I share my Tufts. Cause that's, for me, the main thing I believe.
God, didn't say me just to get me to heaven. He wants to use me here. So my testimony is part of bringing hope and it could be for somebody personally, it could be for somebody, a family member, could be a friend, a kid down the street that's hanging out and doing all the things that they shouldn't be doing.
Prayer is very powerful and I believe a lot of people were praying for me before I even came to know Jesus Christ as Lord and savior. They didn't give up. And I believe my mom was the biggest one.
James: Well, you mentioned your mom quite a bit in the book and, and, uh, she was a very positive influence on you, but I want to start out with, I think that the title of the book is just really brilliant because it's the witness.
Uh, The Life and Death of a Mafia Madman, we talked about how obviously reconciled with your past and you forgiven yourself, but the person that was portrayed in the first part of the book like, we'll just call it the old Robert. It's not a very likable person. I didn't like that person. I'm sure looking back. You don't like it either.
Borelli: No, I don't. I have a hard time talking about that. And, and that was part of like the beginning of sharing my testimony. I would not speak a lot about that. And a lot of people were saying, you need to let people know the goodness of God. And sometimes we can identify with the goodness of God, unless we know how bad you were and that the grace of God.
And I say, goodness, but I mean, I really mean the grace of God and the mercy of God that he could take somebody like you and change their life. So, uh, that's just part of it, but I always had a hard time sharing about who I was, because I don't like that guy neither. But you mentioned about giving myself and that was the hardest thing for me to do.
And still sometimes it gets in the way of some things that I need to do. So, uh, I didn't fully, you know, whereas I think of some of the past and I have some past regrets, of course. Uh, and I know God has forgiven me, but the one thing that I remember when I, see I have a hard time forgiving myself, somebody would say, well, God, is the almighty, God can forgive you. Who are you not to forgive you?
So that kinda played, played in on that, but yes, that was the hardest thing. Knowing that other people did try to reach out to people as much as I could to make amends to people in my past and stuff like that. And those that want to connect with me, and it's still some of them that do connect with me, let them know that I'm sorry for the person that I was. I'm no longer that person. I thank God for that. But, uh, for me, they can forgive me for that, some of the things I did was really hard.
James: You, you mentioned in the book that you call them angels with guns. And, uh, that's very, very well-written. And I guess it was a couple of police officers, detectives or something in New York city. I guess it was your time to face the music, as they say. At the time it looked like it wasn't in it.
It looked like you were in, you know, some really serious trouble, but you identify it as kind of like the turning point, although you didn't realize it at the time too. The transformation that you eventually recognize Jesus as your Lord later in your life. From what I gather in that book, that was the moment where things began to change for the better.
Borelli: Let me just say this on the record though, this is a really important Scott H. Hunt was the guy that wrote the book. I was just a co-author of the book. He did everything, except publish the book. He actually did everything. So I didn't do any writing in the book was just based on me and him, me and Sharon sharing my story with him.
So he's got to get all the credit about how he put that book together. Not, not really, I'm just telling her the story and he's putting it all together. So Scott Hunt is his name and he deserves the credit for the book, or I just want to make that clear because I have a hard time writing my name, nevermind, writing the book.
But saying what you're saying, just leads me into one thing that I feel God is compelling me to do. And I don't know how I'm going to go and do it or go about doing it is writing another book, because what you're saying is that I could look back now. At that point in time, trust me, I didn't think they were my angels.
Those, they were warrant officers. I was wanted for cases in New York. And then they didn't even know that I had a case that the federal government was looking for me in Florida, but once I got arrested and all that came about, so, um, So at that point in that, that's what I'm saying. It's about the spirit of God compelling me and bringing me to the brokenness that he brought me to.
Now I knew about God being raised in a religious family. I knew about God, but I didn't know, God, I didn't have that personal relationship. My thought of God was he's up there. I'm down here. And someday we'll get together, find out what we're going to do. That's just my thought of it, you know? But at the time, uh, what I made in my personal Lord and savior, that's when the veil was removed from my eyes and that big light can shine again.
I like to say that it happened spontaneously, that my life just looks totally changed like that, but that's, that will be the truth. It was a process of things, but that was the turning point. And I'm looking back, I could see the spirit of God. I seen it like this here, I believe somebody out there was protecting me, cause there's no way I'm supposed to be alive today. That's just a fact. And everybody back home knows that, I mean, people were betting that I never made 20 years old, 25 years old, 30 years old because the lifestyle that I lived that was really kind of, what they used to call me, a loose cannon.
And I can look now and see, there was a hand on my life, even though I, at that point, that time, I didn't know whose hand it was. But then coming to know Jesus Christ as Lord and savior, I could see it was his hand on my life. Even back then, before I even got a personal relationship with them. So that's why I say I want to do a book, maybe call it the Leading by the Spirit because we can't see how the spirit is moving in everyday life, but he's there and he's active and he's moving.
James: I, I don't want to talk, obviously don't want to talk about your past forever, but I do just have a couple of more questions for you if you don't mind. Uh, when you're, when you're looking back at your youth, can you like, pinpoint a spot where things just kind of went wrong like, at that point, things began to go in the wrong direction?
Borelli: I, I try to examine that over and over and over again, and certain deputies I think. And I think I even mentioned it in the book. It was written a little bit in the book, is that the passing of my grandfather, because he was living with us and being a like, I was like nine years old at the time, and not understanding all of that. And then having somebody in your life that's living with you, and then all of a sudden, they’re not there the next day, I think that might've had something to do with it. Uh, but the other thing I've learned early in life and just like babies do, sometimes you get more attention being bad than you do when you're being good. So maybe I was that type of guy that was striving for the attention of others, families, people around me.he average person makes about:
Now I read this a few years ago. It might've changed right since then. And what I like to do is I look back at my story and I see all the bad decisions that I made. But then I think about the one decision that I did make, make that change the course of all those bad decisions. And that was accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior.
And that's what I love to tell young kids. So you can make a lot of bad decisions, but there's one decision that you can make that change the course of your life.
James: I saw reading the book, there was, there's a lot of, I don't know if you want to call it virtue, but there were some, maybe some positive attributes of your comrades in the mafia circles, loyalty to each other.
You had a, this Nikki character who was, um, Like, kind of like a father figure maybe, or a mentor of sorts. And it seems to me like, although there, you know, there's definitely some negative aspects of that lifestyle. Maybe there are some positive aspects that people like myself or the other people listening in, who sort of lived the “straight and narrow life”.
Borelli: Well, I definitely do. If I'm speaking one-on-one with some people, cause you know, when I do a testimony in front of everybody, you only have a little bit of time of what you can share. But what I like to tell people, especially in the church is when I look back at the old life, this guy, Nicky poured himself into me. He was like my, I have to tell you for me, he was like, my God, he was my idol.
Uh, I trusted him, whatever he told me, I would just do it, you know, and he groomed me and you can say in a sense, discipled me into that lifestyle. And I think, us as christians, we're not pouring ourselves into some of these youth that really need, and are starving for the attention and to have somebody, you know, I just see it, like sometimes when we try to do,
And I don't want to be judging anybody when you church or anything, but just from my standpoint, the question that you asked me would not pouring enough of ourselves into a word, kind of like. Sometimes you get into a church and you're the CEO of everything that you tell everybody what to do, but you're not pouring yourself into these people so much.
Maybe you meet them once a week, you know, like a church service or something like that. Sometimes you don't even know half the people you have in your church service. But I think discipleship is probably one of the biggest things we're missing today, more than anything. And then even if you go up with people that are working, I was thinking about that early this morning, while I'm walking my dog, I'm saying, you know, when I was a kid, you know, your mom and dad both didn't have to work.
You know, I mean, we were poor, but we had the love of our mother in our life, almost on a continuous basis. When we came home from school, she got you your school books. Your home from school, poured some time into you. They were always there. And today we’re not there, and of course, in the economy and all that, has a lot to play in it. But mostly in every family, both parents are working.
So you'll have a young kid that's out there looking for something to belong to something. Cause there's nothing constructive in his day. Not saying the family is disoriented or, I mean disengaged or anything like that. I'm not trying to say that, but I think every kid is starving for their parents' attention.
I really truly believe that. And the more we’re pushing them off to things like, seeing that we're doing the right thing to get them on base, you know, like getting them involved with baseball, or any sport that comes about, we’re bringing them out there, but maybe, maybe we could be spending a little bit more time with them.
You know, that, that's just what I think. And I think that's the same thing with the, we’re missing a lot of the stuff, which is we're not putting a lot of time into some of these people, these young kids that are really looking for a mentor, somebody to hold them, to keep them strong and strengthened in their faith.
James: Yeah. You know, um, some of the, the TV shows or the movies they have, uh, that the mafia or the gangster lifestyle, they, they have a tendency to bring out some of the, like, sometimes it's like the quote bad guys that teach the, the quote, good guys, things like. Providing for your family, uh, taking care of, you know, mentoring others.
It's this, it’s just my, this is my experience in the media. Sometimes the unsavory characters sometimes teach some of the best lessons.
I just want to let you know very quickly that you can find show notes as well as links to Robert's book and everything else that we discuss and talk about on this episode at committedmedia.org/madebyjesus. All one word. Let's get it back to the show.
James: You already mentioned this a little bit, writing the book, and you said that it's obviously difficult to recount your past, but when you were telling your story to Scott Hunt, Who's writing it into this fantastic novel you're, you're bringing back these memories that had to have been very difficult for you to think about.
Was there a mission that you kept telling yourself, like this is going to be worth it because..?
Borellii: I believe that God kept me alive through all those hard times of my past. And I think the benefit of that is that I can share that with a lot of all the young kids or other people, because I've been through a lot.
You've got to remember, I spent 43 years living a life of crime continuously, and then twenty-something years living a different life, life in Christ. Jesus. I, I think, I mean, I hope it's a book that brings hope into dark places or light into dark places in people's lives. So what I had to do is I was working with the government and that's part of why we called it the witness.
I was a witness for the government. I'm a witness for Christ and that's when you combined it and put it in the book called The Witness. And they, that's what they want. They kept constantly repeating over and over again.: You know, what did you do? What did you do? Who did you go with?” and all that. Yeah. So when I was dealing with Scott Hunt, it was difficult and thank God he was patient with me because I'm sure he could see sometimes the frustration of me constantly trying to explain the life that I used to live, because I really didn't like talking about it.
So to answer the question, to ensure that there was a purpose and a plan for the book. And that's basically what I said. If one person read it and felt something in it that could bring them to Jesus, that is well worth everything that I'm doing. We spent three and a half years on that book. It wasn't just the overnight book.
James: How much time?
Borelli: Two and a half years
James: Well, I mean, I devoured it in the space of about five days. Part of it is because I was interviewing you and I had to, but, um, it's a really wonderful book. And, um, I certainly hope that it serves its purpose.
Onto a lighter topic.
You mentioned in the book that when you're in San Antonio, You're finished with your service, if you want to call it that, to the witness protection program. And now you're basically a free man. And something that I found really interesting is how you really latched onto the ministry to the elderly. And one comment that you said was that you were, you were able to relate to them because they are, I can't remember exactly what you said, but they're trapped in their own body and you were able to relate to them because of that.
I was wondering if you could just expound or elaborate on that.
Borelli: It's a little bit of a story of how I got involved with that first, before I was being released from prison. When I was in sandstone, Minnesota, my mom was diagnosed with terminal stage four cancer, lung cancer. So I was ministering to my mom and I already made the commitment to go into the witness protection program.
But, um, you're not in it until you get released from prison and that's when they take you out and they start giving me everything that you need, new identity and all that. But my heart was aching for my mom because, and I cried out to God and he said, you'll, I don't understand that y'all, if anyone needs this new kind of love that you give, it, because I never experienced the love of God until I got to know and accept Christ as my Lord and Savior, I had a love, but not the love of God.
And I said, if anybody needed me to show them the love that you've given me and that your love can go through me will be my mom,and my mom died while I was in the witness protection program. I was, I couldn't even go to a funeral or anything. I didn't know. My mom passed away until three days after she passed away.
And that's when I cried out to God. But I'm just really saying to you, and now she's not here. And I feel good saying that there's other people that you could give that love to. Now the church that was attending, which is Evans role Christian Church in San Antonio, Texas welcomed me in like I was their family and I loved them for that.
Cause they surrounded me with a lot of love. And then look at who I was, gave me the food that I need, that spiritual food and that, uh, and that relationship with them. And they were doing nursing home ministry and they were, they asked me to come with them and I didn't want to do it. But then I felt compelled one time I was driving away when they were going to go and I felt compelled to go back.
And when I looked at it and I went with them to the nursing home, what I seen, now I'd been in prison, but I know why I was in prison. When I looked at these people, I seen them in a prison of their own bodies because they weren't able to take care of themselves or anything like that. So my heart poured out to them, but more importantly, that's all God saying the love that you wanted to give to your mom, you can give to these people.
And I did that for like 13 years, three years in San Antonio and about ten years here in Dallas. And then, uh, I handed her off to somebody else and then I started doing some speaking engagements, sharing my testimony.
But, it was about the love of my mom and pouring that love, that I wanted to give to my mom, but she isn’t here, but to other people's moms and dads. And I think I was pretty good at doing that. And everybody seen the love of Christ in me.
James: Another thing that you brought out in the book, your testimony is going to hurt people that you were once close to. And I believe it was Nikki, who was once one of your closest mentors, like you said, he was like, God, to you.
Knowing your testimony was going to be very harmful to him. It had to have been difficult on the one hand, but on the other hand, you have this new chance at life. Not, not just life here on earth, but you have heavenly life.
You're not necessarily thinking about the here and now. Now you're thinking about beyond this life. When you knew that what you were saying in court was going to hurt these people, how did your view of eternity affect how you went about doing that?
Borelli: Well, let me just tell you that that was the hardest decision I had to make, was accepting the offer that the government gave me. I’d love to tell you it was a spiritual thing, but that wouldn’t be the truth.
I believe the spirit of God was involved in it, but I didn't see it that way. It was about Robert Angle, who was at that point in time, who was never going to be the guy that he wanted to be in the mafia because the drugs brought them to a point where, I couldn't have been fully trusted or I lost a lot of respect from a lot of people.
And then sitting in prison, I'm never going to go where I was in the mob. That's out of the question. I mean, I might get involved with them, but I’d never go where I wanted to go with it. And the drugs brought me to my knees. And I figured I'm Robert, the crackhead, even when I came out of prison, I’d probably die Robert the crackhead. That would be the story of my life. So when I did talk to the government, I just figured, I just thought that I needed to help myself at that point.
The time I would get a change of life and maybe get a new start in life. That's how I looked at it. But when I had to go and testify, which I didn't have to, and in a sneaky way, I thank God for that. I cried like a baby very loud in my jail cell where everybody heard me crying because I had to do it.
And because as a christian, and I gave my word to the government that I would do it, I knew I couldn't back down anymore. And I look at it today as it was a dividing point in my life because maybe I could’ve got saved and still hung out with the guys. Probably not, but maybe that could have happened, but I think it was the point of when I made that decision, it was a point of no return to that life anymore neither.
So I had to start that new life all over again. It's kind of like you couldn't straddle the fence anymore. You had to be on one side or the other kind of thing. You can't have one foot in and one foot out. And you know, I just give God all the credit for everything that's happened in my life today.
I really do, because I could just see his hand so much in my life as I look back. Well, once again, I don't want to keep talking about this, but I love what the spirit of God was doing in my life, even when I couldn't see what he was doing or realize that it was him orchestrating. The Bible says in the heart of a man, he plans his clothes, but God directs his steps.
And I see that so much, how God was directing my steps, even though I had maybe other thoughts of the course that my life is going to take.
James: After you became a Christian you're in prison and then you're out of prison. What, what do you think kept you in the straight and narrow for lack of a better term?
Like, what do you think is the one thing that kept you from going back? Because obviously it had to have been very tempting because that was like the, your, your life pattern, your thought patterns for years and decades. What do you think is the thing that kept you from not sliding back into that lifestyle?
Borelli: Staying in the word of God? No doubt about it. Because people told me when I was there, Hey, you know, this Christian thing when you're saved while you're in here, but once you go out, the temptations of the drinking, the drugs, the partying and the lifestyle that you love so much, because that's what I did all my life before I got saved.
You're going to go back to that. This is just a good luck in here, but these things aren't available for you. And it put a great fear in my heart, and I think I even put it in the book ,where 60 days before I know I'm going to be released, that kind of floated in my head. And what I did was, I put the Bible on the floor, put my head in the Bible and I would pray, God, let your words penetrate my mind that I never forget them.
And then I will push my body up and place my heart in the Bible. And I would say, God, let your words penetrate my heart that I will be able to live by them. The key thing for me my last year and a half in jail was constantly reading the word of God. Matter of fact, I didn't what they call the set free prison ministry.
They send you books and you take tests and stuff like that. I got 32 credits within like about a year's time of biblical study. Unfortunately, when I got the new name that didn't follow me because it didn’t follow me around, they couldn't have anything to follow you from your past or your future. So, but it was so word of God, constantly staying in the word of God and really, really, really, really the sacrifice that Christ made for me.
I felt obligated to live according to his word and I still do. Not perfectly, I’m not perfect though.
James: Nobody's accusing you of being perfect, Robert.
Borelli: Okay. I don't walk over the halo and I don't walk on water.
James: No, no one, no, one's going to say that you're too sure of yourself. Don't worry. What does it look like? You, you were constantly reading the Bible when you first became a Christian, what does it look like now?
What is your daily Bible reading look like?
Borelli: Well, I, I read different books. I mean, I don't know if you can, you can move around with camera, but I have a whole bunch of books that I constantly read every day. Uh, the last, probably three or four months I've been waking up probably about two-thirty, three o'clock in the morning cause I have a dog that gets up at five. My wife gets up at five, so I need that quiet time. So I think God’s getting me up so I can get into his word and I do a lot of the [shoes] and I don't want to put anybody's names if there are people that I kind of look up to them and read what they have written and stuff like that.
But that's what I do on a daily basis. I remember when I first got out of prison then to, I still remember what that guy said. Before I would leave, cause they put me in a hotel when I first came out in San Antonio, before I would leave that hotel every morning, I would read scripture. I will read Proverbs. I would read songs before I left and I would pray, God please protect me because I know once I leave this little room, my little cubby hole here is going to be many temptations out there.
So I would pray for God's protection before the temptation comes, not when it comes. So I was getting ready for that district. Kind of like putting on the spiritual helmet on, in a sense.
James: Now how long will it be before the new Robert will have been around longer than the old Robert.
Borelli: Okay. What was that? 43 and 66. So 27 years. I don't know if that's going to be doable, but, you know, sometimes I think I might be the Moses guy, you know. So, 40, then another 40. So, maybe that'd be all done up, but I don't look at it as a time thing as, as the quality of what am I doing today.
And, you know, my prayer with me and my wife every morning is, Lord,you woke me up this morning and I know before you woke me up, you had a plan and a purpose for me for today. I don't know about tomorrow, but today, and without your spirit, I will never be able to carry, so I pray, Lord that through the full power of your Holy spirit, I can fulfill the plan and purpose you have me just for today.
And I try to live that out in my life every day.
James: What are you the most excited about? Not just, uh, life on this earth, but in light of eternity?
Borelli: Well, you see, I identify a lot with the apostle Paul. He murdered, he did a lot of things. He got thrown off his, what they say, a horse, but then there's no nothing the Bible said there was a horse, but not to the ground anyway.
And something came alive and he says, Lord, who are you? I think that was me. You know, when I was in Rikers Island, after my daughter told me, “Dad?” I said why, why are you crying? She said, because you won't come and see me. I ran back to my son. That's kind of like, similar to what Paul did, but what happened with Paul is that I prayed for God.
I said, okay, you need to have somebody to kill. You know, I was better off dead or alive. And I think a lot of other people thought that about me, so to be honest. Or change me, I didn't know nothing about saving or salvation or anything like that. So changed me. And obviously I did the latter one for me. But I think that's when the light came, came on for me.
And, and that was crying out loud. Okay Lord, who, who are you? If you are real, if you are real, then you can do something with me and now, obviously he did. You know?
James: Hm. Well, from what I understand, Paul thought that he was actually serving God by killing Christians.
Borelli: Well, like you know, serving a God too, is every Mickey Corrado, the mafia, kind of thing. So everybody has some kind of an idol, yeah. And he thought, and there was a little bit of a different state, but I thought I was doing it for the right reasons still, because the way I looked at life back then is all the people that went to work were suckers and we were the smart guys when the government wasn't taking half the money out of our paychecks. But, we wouldn’t tell them what we would get. But anyway, that’s another story.
But I try to keep it the way Paul kept it. That's what I tried to do. Well, they need a ton of perspective.
James: Well, you hear a lot of like Paul, Hill lament. You can hear the remorse in his voice sometimes where he like, I'm chief among sinners. He really felt it. And just like you described, like you, you have struggles with your past and he clearly struggled with his own past. He did some pretty bad things, but it ended up well for him, to say the least.
Borelli: Well, the Bible says those who are forgiven much, will love much. I think a lot of us who maybe have the lifestyle that I live, you know, like sometimes I'll speak and somebody said, well, you really needed to get saved. And I say to them, well, you'd think I did because you didn't live as bad as I did, but sin is sin.
The Bible says the wages of sin, not sins, but the wages of sin is death. So we’re all living dead or alive until God came and saved us. Right? So, I don't think a lot of other people can see the eternity or say how much they will, God loved them or how much they were forgiven, because maybe they didn't kill anybody or they didn't live that kind of a lifestyle, but they still have sin in their life, which would have led to that anyway, right?
So I don't think they see that too much as those who are forgiven much, love much. So they say, okay, yeah, you really need to be forgiven. Well, so did you. That’s why he went to the cross.
James: Well, I'm speaking with Robert Borrelli. The book is The Witness: A Tale of the Life and Death of a Mafia Madman.
And it's not just a chronological biography. It's, it's written like a novel and it's actually very, very good. Uh, that for, for the, a lot of the actual names are used. Like it's not a pseudonym for Robert. The main character is Robert, obviously referring to our guest, but I highly, highly recommend the book, not just for the very powerful message in it that we've heard Robert talk about on this show, but it's just a really well-written book.
So hats off to Scott Hunt and of course, Robert Borrelli, it's been just a real pleasure to become acquainted with you a few months ago and then read your book, recently. And now to just hear the man, the voice himself talking about, it's been a real treat. Thank you for being on the show.
Borelli: Well, I appreciate you letting the audience know that they can get the book through amazon.com, Barnes and noble.com, or they go to my website, Robert bradley.com and order from there, and I personally will sign it and mail it to them.
James: Well, if they order from Amazon, you can't sign it.
Borelli: Yea, so they should go to my website. Yeah. They ask for the book and then I send it to them and sign it. Not that my signature means much, but some people like it.
James: Well, I'm going to lose out on some Amazon affiliate revenue, but definitely go to Robert. No, I'm just kidding, Robert. I'm kidding. I can live without the 20 cents of revenue from Amazon.
Go to Robert borrelli.com order the book and have it signed personally. Thanks again. This is a real real treat.
Borelli: Well, God bless you. Appreciate you. Let's stay in touch.
CTA: You can learn more about me, James Newcomb and our business on the web at https://committedmedia.org.
There you'll find a growing library of free eBooks courses, podcasts, and much more. And it's all available on our free mobile app. That's https://committedmedia.org.