I love C. S. Lewis’s writings. I fell in love with The Chronicles of Narnia at a young age, and they were the very first books that I ever bought with my own money. They’re still among the very few books that I can never tire of reading or hearing.
I read The Screwtape Letters as a young teen, perhaps around the of 13, and was struck by his insight into human nature. A couple of years ago I tackled Mere Christianity, savoring it in tiny servings because that was the only way my feeble brain could digest it.
Now we have a book of daily readings from his works and I am rediscovering his genius.
Screwtape’s last advice on using daily annoyances to distract a Patient:
In civilised life domestic hatred usually expresses itself by saying things which would appear quite harmless on paper (the words are not offensive) but in such a voice, or at such a moment, that they are not far short of a blow in the face. To keep this game up you and Glubose must see to it that each of these two fools has a sort of double standard. Your patient must demand that all his own utterances are to be taken at their face value and judged simply on the actual words, while at the same time judging all his mother’s utterances with the fullest and most over-sensitive interpretation of the tone and the context and the suspected intention. She must be encouraged to do the same to him. Hence from every quarrel they can both go away convinced, or very nearly convinced, that they are quite innocent. You know the kind of thing: ‘I simply ask her what time dinner will be and she flies into a temper.’ Once this habit is well established you have the delightful situation of a human saying things with the express purpose of offending and yet having a grievance when offense is taken. (emphasis mine)
- from The Screwtape Letters
It’s easy to point fingers and I couldn’t help but laugh at how many times I have seen my children treat one another like this, but of course it begs the question: Am I guilty of the same? Are you?by Did you enjoy this post? Please share it with your friends!