Cornerstone Magazine Spring 2014 - Page 15

THE LOST LETTERS OLUGBENGA JOSEPH Here lies a pair of letters reported to have been torn from a devil’s handbook. These writings were composed by the crafty demon known as Screwtape, who makes his unforgettable debut in The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. These letters, like the ones before them, shed light on the enigmatic essence of human nature, as well as the fragility of the human heart. Among other things, these Lost Letters illustrate how Tempters, like Screwtape and his nephew Wormwood, succeed in bending the will of man to that of their own. Let the chaos commence. MY DEAR WORMWOOD, I take it that you still haven’t the faintest idea of what you are to be doing. This, however, is not a striking revelation that I happened to acquire from Our Father Below. Rather, the string of nonsensical narratives that I have received from you recently has only confirmed my suspicions. In your last letter, for instance, you made mention of a certain pastor who seems to have won—or so you claim— the affection of your patient’s beloved. As you describe in detail, the young, unmarried man is the scum of the earth. His character is tainted with all of the (forbidden) Fruits of the Spirit–Love, Joy, Peace, Forbearance, and Faithfulness– that are so often associated with the Enemy [1]. In fact, that vile creature is so far gone into the Enemy’s camp that he has prostituted his own will for that of his Creator’s. Instead of filling his prayers with selfish desires, his mantra has become “Let not my will, but Yours be done” [2]. This monster has spread the twisted rhetoric of the Enemy so frequently, and so fervently, that his church services have attracted even the likes of your patient and his filthy female companion. What’s worse, still, is the Tempter that has been assigned to his care. I have done my research on this fellow, Wormwood, and have been terrified with my findings. Bellyall, the poor fool, seems to be as inconsequential a Tempter as you are. In the same way that Bellyall has failed to pluck those seductive seeds (of love, faithfulness, peace et. al) from his patient before they germinated into firm fruit, you, too, have failed to use this opportunity to capitalize on your own little experiment. Know you nothing of the Twin Virtues that have led to the downfall of so many men? Or, were you simply “on leave” from the Tempter’s Training College when the professors lectured on Envy and Jealousy? In any case, allow me to refresh your memory. It may surprise you that I describe Envy and Jealousy as two distinct entities. And, yes, while we have succeeded in training humans to ignore the subtle—and yet significant— difference between the two terms, the distinction still remains clear. In simplest terms, Envy exists when Person B is embittered by what Person A has. A’s possession could be any number of things: extreme wealth, keen intelligence, an agreeable face. The source of the Envy, however, is entirely irrelevant to us. What we are concerned with, my dear Wormwood, is how we can use B’s resentment towards A’s possessions to carry out the purposes of Our Father Below—to steal, to kill, and to destroy [3]. Jealousy, on the other hand, is a game with three players. It occurs when B and A are enamored of each other, but B feels threatened by the presence of a third party, C. To name it, B is afraid of losing A’s “love” to C, and is thus GIVE HIM EVERY REASON TO BELIEVE THAT THE WOMAN’S INTEREST IN THE PASTOR IS MORE EROTIC THAN PLATONIC, MORE CARNAL THAN FILIAL. “jealous” of C. So what distinguishes Envy from Jealousy? As some of the brighter humans have determined, Envy is merely the coveting of something that belongs to someone else. Meanwhile, Jealousy is one’s fear of losing a rightful possession (perceived or otherwise) to someone else. The distinction between Jealousy and Envy is important. They are not one and the same; rather, they are opposite sides of the same coin. Together, they combine to form the Twin Virtues. This word—“virtue”—suggests that we can exploit these devices for our own benefit. And we do, my dear nephew. We do. Prior to the arrival of that girl, the only woman your patient has had a long term relationship with was his mother. This is not an issue to glance over. Use his insecurity about [1] Galatians 5:2223. Bible. New International Version [2] Luke 22:42 [3] John 10:10 15