Classics Club membership.
Title: The Screwtape Letters
Author: C.S. Lewis
I've always heard that The Screwtape Letters was one of C.S. Lewis's great masterpieces. Back in February, when I read The Ishbane Conspiracy, a similarly-written book, I was immediately drawn to read Screwtape.
A series of correspondence between two devils, Screwtape and his young, inexperienced nephew Wormwood, The Screwtape Letters is an insightful and sometimes alarming peek into how the devil works against us. It was thought-provoking, sometimes a bit humorous, and definitely made me step back and examine the ways I'm being tempted or used for bad.
Screwtape writes his letters to instruct Wormwood on how to manipulate and tempt his "patient," the human being whom Wormwood was given charge to. Though his nephew often frustrates him ("I note with grave displeasure that your patient has become a Christian."), Screwtape is diligent and detailed in all his advice on how to overturn the human soul.
One thing I simply adored about Screwtape is how clearly Lewis made the point that the devil is not omniscient. The devil cannot hear all our thoughts, he cannot be everywhere at all times, and he most certainly does not know near everything God does. At one point, speaking of God and Christians, Screwtape writes, "You know how one can never quite overhear what He says to them?" I believe many Christians think the devil knows everything God knows, and that he is aware of everything Christians think and feel. But people, the devil is not the equal, bad version of God. He's just a jealous, prideful being who tries to make people believe that he is.
What I came away with mostly from Screwtape is the enormity of how much we people need God. We are weak; we are fragile. We are easily tempted and led astray! We need God to instruct us and fight for us. We must also know our enemy and the ways he tries to attack us. Wormwood's patient, for instance, was so blind to the ways of the devil that he had no idea he was constantly being pulled away from God.
The book ends, however, in victory! By the last letter, Screwtape is excessively frustrated and angry with Wormwood, as the young devil has let his patient slip through his fingers and into the hands of "The Enemy" (being God). The patient realizes how he has been used by the devil, resists Satan, and turns back to God.
The Screwtape Letters is a book that all Christians need to read. It forces us to ask the questions, How does the devil have a hold on me? and more importantly, Am I really, truly a Christian and a follower of God?
Considering this was a classic book, between the short length and the simple writing style, The Screwtape Letters was surprisingly a very easy read. I would recommend it for only mature readers, however, as some of the ways Screwtape advises Wormwood to tempt his patient are probably not appropriate for younger readers.
My rating: 8.5 out of 10
Would I read it again: Yes!
Have you read The Screwtape Letters? What was your opinion?