By C.S. Lewis’ “Screwtape Letters” -
My Dear Wormwood,
First, let me commend you on the job with the patient’s sloth. As you well know, this is the constant in her life that allows for us to most effectively carry out our work. While she is in this state of uselessness (even if she is not, you must put this into her head) her mind will wander to thinking about all of her shortcomings, unfinished business, time, and what she really represents of the Enemy. The more time she spends thinking of herself in this way, the more opportunity we have to further her consumption to the point of stagnant nothingness. The process is thus: get her to wonder about what she must and must not do (as a Christian, of course) looking to other Christians, her parents, peers, even famed speakers and writers for her standard. She will be so distracted by all of the information and, realistically, personal preference of doctrine, that she will never actually look to the Enemy to seek His will for herself. This will have her thinking that in order to be with the Enemy, she will have to remain a certain way, in a certain place, for a certain time. She will put limits around what she decides is of the Enemy, and what is not. The importance here is that she is presuming to create the boundaries in which she is allowed to act towards Him, and if she does not, He will no longer be with her. We know of course, this is complete rubbish (the human mind is such a tangled mess), and that He insists upon remaining with the silly creatures even when they use such things as excuses not to function in their mediocre lives. But this is where you have the best opportunity - once she begins thinking about what may or may not separate herself from Him, you must remind her of all her habits, her addictions, things she wishes to change about herself by her own means. And you must shame her. She must think that these acts are so atrocious that she can hide them from even the Enemy, and that she must handle them before she can ‘feel’ closer to Him. She will then most certainly never tell another person, let alone another Christian. It comes down to their pride, you see. Sweet pride, dear Wormwood, is the greatest hold we have on this young girl’s life. Your patient’s fear of what others think of her is incredibly laughable, but utterly real in our work with her. Whenever she thinks of herself as socially unacceptable, enhance it by showing her how she should have acted to convince this person or that person that she is someone, by their individual standards, who is acceptable. When she walks away from a person feeling that she has not impressed them, by all means convince her to spend copious amounts of time feeling absolutely horrified with herself (you will have to do almost nothing here, she does this quite well on her own), and searching how to change herself for the next time. This will continually have her wondering how she is wasting her life without being able to give herself a reasonable answer. This is where she will question why the Enemy is not working to change her, while not realizing that she must also desire to be changed and work towards it. But remember Wormwood, when your patient is in this state it is only a matter of time before she decides to fall our way or, Our Father Below forbid, manage to reach and grasp the outstretched arms of the Enemy.
Your Affectionate Uncle,