|Author Elizabeth Camden|
Above all, love one another.
Thanks for asking me back, Carrie. I always love the insight I get from your author interviews. Instead of talking about handling a major crisis, I want to celebrate one of the simplest of biblical verses, and one that has brought me great comfort over the past year.
1 Peter 4:8 Above all, love one another deeply.
If I were the type of person to get a tattoo, this is the phrase I would use! It is beautiful in its simplicity, yet so powerful and all-encompassing in its message.
I have two step-daughters who are recent college graduates. I am afraid they have drunk deeply from the well of victim-mentality and the tendency to demonize those from the opposite side of their political viewpoint. This is a sadly common phenomenon on college campuses (I know, I’m a college professor in my day job!) I think this attitude is terribly destructive, and I’ve been urging them to try to extend compassion not only to people they agree with, or deem “worthy” of compassion, but to everyone. Yes, that includes the jerk who whistles rude catcalls as they walk past a construction site. We don’t know what his story is, what weakness, insecurities, boredom, or poor parenting he came from. Jesus’s command to love one another includes that construction worker.
This phrase was with me as I wrote With Every Breath, which features a number of secondary characters who suffer from tuberculosis, a once fatal and highly contagious disease. In the 19th century it was common to blame TB victims for their plight, as they were often the poor, the prostitutes, and the people living in inner city slums. Yes, the command extends to them as well.
It is difficult to watch the news these days that is filled with so much political turmoil, racial incidents that spiral out of control, wife abuse, etc. Above all, love one another deeply! This does not mean you must approve of the actions, but anger and demonizing the opposition has not been working to well in solving the incidents I am referring to. Step back, take a breath, and try to understand the other side. They may be wrong. In many cases, they certainly are…but it is hard to truly solve these problems without trying to understand our fellow man. (I hear my step-daughters angrily objecting to that turn of phrase. Fellow man! How sexist! Yes….but I’m a writer and the poetry of language means something to me…. I ask my beautiful, talented, but angry young daughters to understand my need for poetic license.)
Above all, love one another! This is the first phrase I think of when I’ve run into frustrations over the past year, be it from a snide insurance adjuster, problems at work, or a student angry at a grade I’ve assigned. Above all, love one another.
Honestly…one of these day, if I ever get that tattoo…..
Mini Bio: Elizabeth Camden is a professor and research librarian at a small college in central Florida. Her novel Against the Tide won the coveted RITA and Christy Award. She has also written four nonfiction history books for the academic market. It was her ongoing fascination with history and love of literature have led her to write inspirational fiction. Elizabeth lives with her husband near Orlando, Florida.
She regularly posts about the joys of the book world at http://elizabethcamden.com/blog
Her books are available at all online stores, as well as Christian bookstores and most brick and mortar major bookstores.
Giveaway: We're giving away a copy of Elizabeth's latest release or choice of any of her books to one commenter this week. Come back and check the upper right hand corner of the blog to see if you have won (allow up to ten days.)