Feb 8, 2011

The Screwtape Letters revisited (Part III)

9) All we can do is to encourage the humans to take the pleasures which our Enemy (God) has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He has forbidden. Hence we always try to work away from the natural condition of any pleasure to that in which it is least natural, least redolent of its Maker, and least pleasurable. An ever increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure is the formula. It is more certain; and it's better style. To get the man's soul and give him nothing in return—that is what really gladdens our Father's (Satan) heart. And the troughs are the time for beginning the process.

There is a lot of unsatisfied, unfulfilled lives today which causes people to become depressed. They then seek to find satisfaction and fulfillment in pleasures (especially those of the flesh). They want internal happiness but try to obtain it through external pleasures which any true disciple of Christ will tell you won't work. True happiness comes from inside.

God has given us pleasures of the senses to come to know Him, love Him and serve Him. If we use those pleasures for anything other than that, then we are turning our back on the Creator of all that is good. We lose focus on the internal and focus more on the external.

This also works in Satan's favor when times are not good.

Death, illness, marriage problems, financial hardship, job loss, war and just when you are having a bad day can bring in the tempter.
Satan (the father of lies) will make you think things will be better with a little alcohol or drugs (even prescription drugs). Pleasures of the flesh or a spending spree or a trip to get away from it all, that's what he will tell you that will make you happy. No matter how far away from your troubles you may move to, unless you take care of what is going on inside you, the troubles will still be there.
Satan will offer you those idea's of pleasure, but give you nothing in return but more problems.

10) All mortals tend to turn into the thing they are pretending to be.

Humans by their nature are social beings. God calls us to love Him, but also to love our fellow mankind.
It is not easy to love your enemy; but even harder sometimes may be seeing those whom you like as your enemy.

What am I trying to say???

There are people we may truly love, especially family members and close friends, that are not good for our spiritual health.

They may have different beliefs, idea's or world views that are not Christ centered. They may let their feelings or stubbornness (pride) stand between them and the truth. They may have sin in their lives that clouds their minds.
If we spend a lot of time with these people, there is a chance we may start thinking like them or agreeing with them, or just not saying anything which is just as good as agreeing with them.

I know I am guilty of not rebuking others out of love for that person, out of charity or just to keep the peace....but, what is the cost of that silence?

If there is someone or a group of "someones" that is causing your faith to be tested, then either try to lead them to the truth or get away from them because your soul is at stake also.

It also works the other way. If someone whom who spends time with you is not a believer or is weak in faith, they can be influenced by your example of living and speaking the Christian way of life.
It is a fine line on which to walk. Ask God to guide you always to good and holy people. Ask God especially on behalf of your children to guide them to good and holy friends.

11) I divide the causes of human laughter into Joy, Fun, the Joke Proper, and Flippancy.
There has been some studies done which strongly suggest that laughter is good for your health. I can see some good in it myself.
There is also a saying that goes "laughter is good for the soul" that is accredited to Proverbs 17;22 but a closer look at that verse in the NAB tells us
"A joyful heart is the health of the body, but a depressed spirit dries up the bones." (Which is why you should be careful about reading modern translations of the bible).

A joyful heart is more than laughter and nowhere does it say that laughter is good for the soul. A depressed person can still laugh and have fun externally, but internally, they are still depressed and their condition is still detrimental to their body and soul.
Here Lewis (or Screwtape) shows us how Satan likes to use humor against us. He shows us that humor can be used to bring forth cruelty, lewdness, lust, pride and many other sins.
Screwtape also tells us that flippancy is the best of all. Flippancy is where every serious subject is discussed in a manner which implies that they have already found a ridiculous side to it. It reminds me of how our culture portrays religion and God in movies, books and sitcoms. They shrug off anything that is virtuous or moral as being too ridiculous to believe. We live in a very flippant world.

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