By Rev. Tony Marciano
I was asked to give a speech on the transformative work of Charlotte Rescue Mission. I was told I had six minutes to speak – no more. I had it down to 4 minutes and 30 seconds when I read it. I rehearsed it out loud several times, and it still came under 5 minutes and 15 seconds every time.
The day of the presentation I was informed there would be a clock showing the time. I missed the part that it was a countdown clock showing me how much time was left. I stood at the podium and began to speak. I was informed that as soon as I started my speech, the clock would begin. The clock was far to my left. I had to turn my head to find it on stage.
I began my speech, confident I would stay within the time. I finally found the clock part of the way through my speech. It showed two minutes and 44 seconds. I was good to go. I had 3 minutes and 16 seconds. I could slow down and even add a few things.
I kept speaking. When I turned to look at the clock I noticed it didn’t say 5 minutes and 10 seconds. In fact, it only showed seconds. That was weird. It showed 45 seconds. I thought the clock was broken. I didn’t know how much time I had left. Then suddenly it hit me. I was over my time limit. The seconds were showing me how far I had gone over 6 minutes. I skipped an entire paragraph and attempted to go to my closing paragraph. It rattled me. I finished but not quite like the ending I had hoped it would be.
I thought it was a count-up clock when it really was a countdown clock. I don’t know why but I see and do things backward. In fact, there is a scripture verse I memorized in reverse. This is my version: “The one who fears is not made perfect in love. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.”
I took the last sentence and made it the first. Let’s look at that verse. Most of us are afraid of spiders and snakes. But I don’t think that is what it is talking about. There are fears that paralyze us, such as failure, success, rejection, perfection and being found out.
You would think the men and women at the Charlotte Rescue Mission who are in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction would struggle with failure. That isn’t correct. They have told me they could be dropped in the worst drug neighborhood at 10 p.m. and at 10 a.m. and not only would they still be alive, but they would also have made money overnight. But drop them in the best neighborhood in the morning and 15 minutes later, they will ask you to get them out of there. Their fear is not failure. Rather, it is a fear of success. They are afraid of every good thing that God has for them. Their sense of shame says they are not worthy of anything good including any good thing from God. Therefore, they “self-sabotage” all the great things God is doing in their lives to prove to the world they are really damaged goods.
The actual verse says, “ There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” Maybe one day, I’ll actually memorize it in its proper order.
I’ll be back soon. Until then, live well my friend.
Rev. Tony Marciano is the president/CEO of the Charlotte Rescue Mission. He is available to speak to your group. Visit www.charlotterescuemission.org for information.