Book club discussion last night of The Screwtape Letters was quite lively! We were unanimous – it was a hard book to read, it required concentration, note-taking, and head scratching. It was a bit like being back in school. BUT, it was really worth reading. It was the kind of book that changed how you looked at the world.
Probably the biggest shift in our thinking came from the global message of the book. In the modern preface C.S. Lewis writes,
“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.”
In general we agreed that we believed in Satan and devils (his minions) – but we never really gave much more than a passing thought to their existence. We tended to think of temptation as something obvious – something that felt a bit wrong but we wanted it anyway. That was the temptation “feeling” we were familiar with. We also tended to – somewhat flippantly – credit devils with things like a day full of drama or other negative things or thoughts that happened to us.
We were shocked at the battle being waged in the world unseen. Caught off guard at the all-encompassing nature of the warfare being waged against Christians… Persistent. Specific to each man’s weakness. In good times and in bad. In his relationships. In his thoughts. In his community. Every single day. Whether he sees it or not. It’s more focused on what we THINK than what we DO. It’s not big obvious sins – we catch on to those too quickly and repent. It’s a slow fade (thank you Casting Crowns). It’s complacency, ignorance, apathy, and pride.
It’s scary! We must pray that the Lord will reveal to us where we are weak, to keep us from being blinded by the temptations and distractions that are thrown our way.