The lost ‘Screwtape Letters’: Don’t help people

Published 8:27 am Friday, January 19, 2018

C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors, and he wrote an intriguing book called “The Screwtape Letters.”

In it, “uncle screwtape,” a higher demon, is guiding his nephew, a lesser demon named wormwood (note: I don’t capitalize satan or his minions because they don’t deserve it).

I have miraculously found some new screwtape letters (i.e. I am going to try my hand at C.S. Lewis’s masterful style of writing from the perspective of evil).

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Christian, please be careful to note that screwtape’s guidance for wormwood is guidance we should avoid!

“Dear wormwood,

I understand your loathsome Christian has begun to consider going on a mission trip. What has happened is the Enemy (God) has pricked his conscious with some dribble about faith without works is dead, and now he wants to put his faith into action (see James 2:14-26, note: this is my note, wormwood does not know the scriptures).

This cannot happen.

Many a Christian has been seduced into doing time in the pew, content to think they are making a difference by going to church, and the Enemy is really pleased that he just sits in the pew most weeks, and throws a $20 in the offering plate to do his part.

As a side note, begin planting the idea that $20 is too much, and he can make change one Sunday when he throws his money in the plate. If someone catches him, the humiliation will probably drive him away from the church for good.

Though this is a very precarious place you find yourself in, all is not lost, but it is dangerous.

He not only may enjoy helping other people, the Enemy has made a promise to be present in unique ways when His pitiful followers help people in need (again my note: see Matthew 25:31-46).

You cannot let this happen.

First, you must whisper over and over how uncomfortable he is going to be if he goes on this mission trip. He will have to sleep in a strange bed, share a bathroom with people he doesn’t know, eat food that may or may not be tasty and many other distasteful matters that “good” Christians should not have to endure.

Fill his head with thoughts of how the people need help because of choices they have made, and other lies that people who are concerned about their comfort will find distasteful. Seducing Christians into being selfish, all in the name of being comfortable is one of our greatest tools for pacifying them.

Also, remind him that going on mission trips costs money — his money. Get him thinking of all the junk he can’t buy because he spent his hard-earned money on this silly trip. Remind him that people will notice how cool his new stuff is, and he’ll be the envy of the office.

Be aware that the Enemy will try to remind him that everything he has is a gift from Him. Do not let such thoughts enter in if you can stop them. When Christians start getting grateful, and thanking the Enemy for all He gives them, there is no end to trouble that can come from such thoughts.

Your subject might even think less of himself, and more of others, and start taking his faith seriously.

We demons pay a dear price when our lord satan finds out  we have allowed such failures in our temptations and lies.

If you can get the upper hand in his mind, you can move him into believing all his blessings are because of his good choices. The Enemy showers all the necessities and luxuries of life on His miserable followers, but we can turn them into hoarders so easily, as we turn them toward focusing on themselves. If you can get him to forget about helping others, and further spend that money on himself then the victory will be ours.

Then we can alert all the demons who attack all his friends who are not Christian to how hypocritical he is. Non-believers find it particularly loathsome when followers of our Enemy are selfish and self-absorbed, and swear they will never become a follower. It makes it so much easier on the rest of our army to avoid the problems you are now facing trying to keep his faith meaningless.

wormwood, much is riding on your success.

Your affectionate uncle screwtape.”

Do you ever find yourself falling into any of the traps wormwood is supposed to set for his Christian?

To find out more about Al Earley or read previous columns, see