Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Screwtape Letters

“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one- the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without turnings, without milestones, without signposts,”

There was one a time when I felt I was drifting away. I was going to church, I was praying, I was reading the Bible every day, but at some point I realized it was becoming an empty habit. In that instant, I became extremely afraid. I felt like my heart had gone numb, that the joy had left me without me noticing it, and since I had not realized that I had lost it, I had not search for it immediately. When I became conscious of this fact, a dreadful feeling of terror washed over me. I asked myself, where am I?! The emptiness of the place I found myself in, scared me.

Perhaps it was Wormwood all so gently, sweetly leading me to a fake sense of peace doing what his dear uncle Screwtape had suggested. And indeed, a demon's goal is not to scare one away using "strong" turnings, it is to draw one towards his jaws with a seemingly pleasant and harmless road. I was succumbing into a life of routine; taking everything for granted and was slowly forgetting the joy of gratitude.

Though fortunately Wormwood’s intentions were revealed to me halfway, his strategy was and still is a fearful one. His plan consists in a subtle attack of sin which works as a snowball effect, and is disguised as an external Christian habit which is only superficial. This starts with a feeling of "dim uneasiness," then it turns into a small guilt, this guilt transforms into a bigger shame, shame into cowardice and reluctance to face truth, and ultimately, it ends up on separation from God.

All this happens so slowly that almost no change is noticed, or if noticed, it is viewed as trivial. It lets one’s guard down and rusts one’s sword. Then it becomes too late. All sin that seemed trifle, which seemed to not need repentance piles up together and turns too heavy to bear, dragging one down. With one’s own strength, nothing can be done. Thus it is necessary to, just like Lewis says, die before one dies. Leave the old life and be reborn into a new and repented one before passing the point of no return.

But there is no need to wait until one ends up in the worst possible situation before turning away. The more one procrastinates, the more difficult it becomes to escape the place of nothingness. One can avoid, reveal, fight against the cleverly formulated plan by Screwtape from the beginning by being aware of one’s position at all times. To walk on the right path, one needs to pray for strength and courage to keep faith alive (“always pray and not give up” – Luke 18:1), to find joy every time one goes to church and thinks about God’s love instead of taking it for granted and forgetting its true meaning and preciousness, to repent all times, to cast away pride and to simply stop being stubborn and return to where are supposed to be: with God.

There are only two paths for everything ones does, for every choice one makes: One that leads to heaven and one to hell. Being uncertain of what path to take is way too dangerous; the devil takes advantage of that. Lewis describes our desires for Glory (acceptance in God) as too “weak” and “easily-pleased.” One should prevent being indecisive and lukewarm (Rev. 3:15-16). One has to be colder than the fiercest storm of Grand Rapids’ winter to be able to freeze all temptation in battle; one has to burn with passion and love for Christ everyday and glow brighter with joy. Only by being a wholehearted christian, one will wake up, stump Screwtape’s plans and head towards heaven.


  1. I like the real life situation that you compare the Screwtape letters to. This is because in order for the total value of the Screwtape letters to be appreciated I think one must find an application of them in their own life or else risk remaining blissfully ignorant of one's current spiritual position.

  2. Ah Hee, I also appreciated how you had a personal testimony of your own struggles because we all go through it but sometimes are afraid to share it with others. And I completely agree with you, we need to be alert and awake because our enemy is surely doing everything he can to keep us distracted.