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Screwtape’s Advice on How to Attack a Man’s Faith

November 27, 2017

My dear Wormwood,

Necessity compelled me to write. I hear that your man suffers from disappointment and unwanted circumstances, and I have only to say this: Take full advantage of your opportunity.

Likely, he is weakened in faith because his situation has not afforded him the luxury of resting upon the Enemy’s sovereignty. But an attack of this nature is not what we are after. (It’s quite easy to believe the providence of the Enemy, who makes the human’s little world go round and—to our repulse—delights to raise up their sun each day, no matter how ignorant they are.)

No—we are after the Enemy’s goodness.

Deceive Your Man

Fingerprints are best seen under a microscope, so don’t let your man closely consider his surroundings. The Enemy’s goodness is printed all over their earth, so it’s a great challenge to get around it, but you’d better try your best.

The key is to magnify something else, something worse. It’d be a whole lot better for us if the Enemy hadn’t made beauty like roses. But we have the curse on our side. So when your man runs by a rose, draw his mind to the thorns. When it rains, make him pity the wetness, rather than think on the growth of his tomatoes. When he sees the roaring sea the Enemy has bound by shores for the man’s enjoyment, the display of His power, remind him of the disaster it has wrought around the world.

We cannot rid creation of the grooves of God’s goodness, but we can overshadow them by rumination on its temporary ruin. We can deceive.

The Enemy even snuck His whole story in the seasons. Ugh, the knack! Don’t awaken your man to the hope written in every fallen leaf, that life will take its place not a few months later. Don’t let your man think on the whiteness of snow, a picture of death engulfed by purity and beauty from the sheer grace of heaven. When the snow is gone, stick your man’s foot in many a mud puddle, that it may muck up his ideas of new birth in spring, that mirrors the Enemy’s miracle in human souls.

Distract Your Man

I am ashamed I must mention the next strategy; for, you’re no true devil of hell if you have forgotten it! Don’t let him settle on the cross. There, the fingerprint of the Enemy’s goodness resembles a crater, the hole left by His heavenly fist punched through death and into their hearts. (Remember how the ground shook that day!)

Next, crowd your man’s mind with distraction, disillusions, divisive thoughts, discouragement, his fears, and his failures. Self is the key. We want him thinking about his life, his frustrations, and his problems. When he lifts his eyes to the Enemy, we’re in trouble. For the Son of the Enemy was lifted up—we need to keep your man’s eyes down. As soon as he looks up, he’ll see how his existence is not about himself, but his Lord.

Funny, how the Enemy did suffer for those that belong to Him—your man included. You know King Jesus suffered for their ultimate joy, and He takes delight in them, giving them fullness of life. By golly, He wept over them, and more than once! Make men and women? I might have. But had they shook their fleshy fists at me the way they did their King, I’d have destroyed them. Die for them? Absolutely not.

Right now, we can only prod and pick at the redeemed ones for sport; there’s nothing for us to win in the end. He will have what He made. He won’t let humanity go to rot, though they’re born more rotten than their ignorant selves know! See, He would plant a new seed, create some anew. How? The Son of God wouldn’t stay on his throne, but became one of them—and an ugly one at that! All so they’d one-day crawl all over his place and share in a wealth they don’t know the half of now.

They’ll worship Him again. (Try to make your man think this is arrogance, on the Enemy’s part, to desire worship. It will keep your man from happiness in Him). They go around worshiping their spandex-covered athletes, though the game will be forgotten tomorrow; their spouse, though she will grow old; their new this or that, when next year it’ll be old; and they waste their affections when they could have Him.

Discourage Your Man

The Enemy made it far too easy: He can reach your man’s heart, you know, far better than we ever could. The Enemy puts faith in his people. They look up and see him clearly. Our task is to keep your man’s eyes level, looking through labyrinths of tasks to earn the Enemy’s favor, rather than have Him and see Him as He offers Himself.

We don’t want your man asking for what the Enemy freely gives—we want him anxious over how to earn the free gift. We don’t want him looking at the Giver, but livid over his failure to provide for himself. Our task is to blind him to the goodness of the Enemy that surrounds him, lest he respond in joyful worship.

That is all for now.

Your mentor,


[This article is styled after C.S. Lewis’ book, The Screwtape Letters.]

The Author
Eden Parker

Eden Parker is follower of Jesus. She graduated from Wheaton College with a Bachelor's degree in Christian Education. If you entered her day unawares, you'd find her running—figuratively for the Father in work & play, literally for her fitness, and physically on the good gift of coffee and all the strength Jesus provides. Eden writes at her website.

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