As an author, one of the questions I am most commonly asked is, “what do you want your readers to take away from your book?” This is an important question, and I always appreciate when readers ask this, because every story has a moral—whether you realize it or not.
A couple days ago I read a review left on my biblical series Days of Messiah. In the review, the reader compared the series to the book Vantage Point because of the differing viewpoints that are portrayed in each book. I was thrilled when I read that, because it perfectly expresses one of the main takeaways that I hope to leave with my readers.
In the first book in the Days of Messiah series, we meet Aaliyah, a young woman who is banished from her home and family due to leprosy. Her husband, Tyrus, is very harsh and believes God is judging her for being secretly unfaithful to him. The truth of his actions and her anger and grief mix together and create a deadly reaction of hate and bitterness.
In book two, I wanted the reader to see the situation from Tyrus’ point of view. I wanted them to see his fears, his motivations for behaving the way that he had towards his wife. I wanted them to see the story from another Vantage Point.
The dictionary defines vantage as “a position, condition or place affording some advantage or a commanding view.” A Vantage Point in battle might be a high hill, or someplace where you can see the movements of the opposition, but relationships also have a Vantage Point.
A wise man once told me, “You can’t hate someone until you de-humanize them.” In other words, if you fail to see their motive, their reason for their actions, the fear that drives them to do it, than you fail to see what makes them human, and your mind turns them into a monster and you begin to hate them. The only way to combat this basic human tendency is to prayerfully climb to the Vantage Point and see the situation from their point of view.
Most of my readers have told me that, after reading book two, they have forgiven Tyrus for his apparent villainy in book one, and the reason they can do that is because they saw the story through his eyes. The same principle rings true in our daily lives and relationships.
For example, if my brother was supposed to pick me up from the airport, and he never shows up, I would be angry. As I sit at the airport for hours awaiting a ride that never came, scenarios would start running through my mind. He probably fell asleep and forgot about me. Maybe he’s so wrapped up in his silly football game that he didn’t think to come get me. He’s probably still mad about that incident at Christmas and stood me up on purpose. After that, I would have to make a decision to catch a cab to the house, or turn around and catch a flight right back to where I came from, and never talk to my brother again. My relationship with my brother may be forever tarnished by my anger at him for not picking me up. After all, I wasn’t important enough to him. But, if I climb up to the Vantage Point, then I have an advantage of seeing the situation from his point of view. Let’s say I call his cell phone for the third time and this time he answers. One the kids was attacked by the neighbor’s dog, and he’s in the ER with his child. Now that I can see the situation from his Vantage Point, I am much more capable of making a wise decision, and the hate and bitterness that was forming moments ago is now replaced with a compassion and even a deeper love than before.
That brings up another good point, the Vantage Point is almost always achieved through communication with the other person. But that’s a whole different blog post. 😉
What about you, have you ever resolved a situation by seeing it from the Vantage Point?
Multi-published author Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call “historical fiction at its finest”. A homeschool graduate from a family of 12 children, Amber found her calling early in life. First published at age 21, she has continued to hone her craft and is now the author of over half a dozen books. Between ministry, family and working in their family-owned businesses, Amber loves to connect with readers. Find her on the Stitches Thru Time blog, or on any of the major social media sites. Amber is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Historical Novel Society.
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Dreams…they shouldn’t bother him, but when Tyrus’ worst nightmare is vindicated, he has no choice but to face reality. His wife has been unfaithful, and God has punished her with the most feared disease in the land: leprosy. Banishing her to the leper colony, Tyrus struggles to raise their son alone and protect him from a merciless outlaw. But when Malon begins following the teacher from Nazareth, what remains of their business and reputation is at stake. Can Tyrus save his son from the beguiling lies of a false Messiah before he loses the only thing he has left?
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