Written in the style of the famed Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis, the following is a result of arduous labor. Each line can be traced back to a specific instance in my life over the course of the past three years. I confess that I hated the process. The topic took me to a dark place—a lonely place—where I found solace within the shadow of the cross alone.
We would never have chosen the path that we find ourselves on, but God is faithful and has fulfilled His promise to provide for us “grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). I would like to say a special thanks to my friends and family for their kind words and encouragement throughout this difficult journey. If this letter helps to “fan the flame” in any way, it has reached its goal.
- Daniel Phelps
Psalm 115:1: “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.”
My dear nephew,
I understand from my last exchange with you that your client recently experienced the loss of his brother. A situation such as this, while it could certainly work to the advantage of Our Father Below, may not be, as you would so readily label it, “a glorious occasion.” That remains to be seen.
Your man, having joined himself with the Enemy, is in a precarious position here, and there are two directions in which it could result: either he will persevere in spite of it or rebel because of it. I trust I do not need to tell you what ought to be your objective.
Give him tunnel vision. This will compel him to identify certain aspects of the Enemy while overlooking others. Sow seeds of skepticism—and quickly, for the passing of time works greatly against us in this scenario.
Allow him to acknowledge omniscience while doubting wisdom, affirm omnipotence while disputing authority, and accept omnipresence while denying intimacy. The purpose of these reservations, subtle at first, is to perpetuate a kind of doubt that ultimately consummates in cynicism.
Like a fish oblivious to its subaquatic environment, unwittingly immerse and indoctrinate him in the ways of vain and pointless philosophies. This will be quite simple, for their champions are all around him. He is to boldly have them in derision without yet quietly embrace them within. Their identities should irritate him; their ideals, intrigue him. Let him love their literature, sing their songs, and meditate on their media.
Cause him to challenge everything. Replace periods with question marks, declaratives with interrogatives, facts with feelings. I do not mean a departing from but rather a twisting of the truth. Beg frequent questions. Provide few answers. Behind everything place nothing at all. As he pillows his head at night, place the weight of the world upon him. Force him to feel the futility of it all, turning only to himself for answers. In so doing, you will drown him through a ceaseless cycle of nothingness that, at the very least, should render him ineffective in his service for the Enemy.
Concerning healing, paralysis by day and insomnia by night are to define him. Under no circumstances is recovery an option. The slightest improvement is to be impeded at any and all costs. He must search for meaning everywhere yet find it nowhere.
Where there is clapping, let him clap; dancing, let him dance; laughter, let him laugh. Although this may initially seem contradictory, I can assure you that it is not, for even the stimulating becomes stagnant when coupled with sorrow.
Pull rugs out from under him at every turn. Build him up for the purpose of tearing him down. Ransack relationships, pilfer peace, and take treasures. He should not be able to think—much less, speak fondly—of the Enemy anymore.
All of this accomplished, you will have obtained your objective.
Your affectionate Uncle,