Earlier today, I was reading a chapter of The Screwtape Letters. I’m not loyal about reading it every day but I do like to try. The message stuck in my head but I was quickly distracted. I kept the message during these distractions, but it didn’t last forever.
As I sit here typing, I have no idea what it was about. So I’m going to go back and reread the section and type the parts that got me. If you are not aware, The Screwtape Letters is about a higher demon/devil writing to a newer one, his nephew. His nephew has been assigned a person and we meet them as the person is a new Christian and the demon is trying to get him to come back to the “correct” side, so his uncle is writing him advice.
In other words, it’s something we can learn from by looking at the other side. “The Enemy” is God and “Our father” is Satan. This chapter is about how people think they own anything on this earth and how absurd it is that humans think that, but the demons can use it for their own benefit. Here’s a part of it
The sense of ownership in general is always to be encouraged. The humans are always putting up claims to ownership which sound equally funny in Heaven and in Hell and we must keep them doing so. Much of the modern resistance to chastity comes from men’s belief that they “own” their bodies – those vast and perilous estates …It is as if a royal child whom his father has placed, for love’s sake, in titular command of some great province, under the real rule of wise counselors, should come to fancy he really owns the cities, the forests, and the corn in the same way as he owns the bricks in the nursery floor.
You know what I thought of when I read that? I thought of abortion and the argument that “I can do whatever I want with my body”. At that same time, I wanted to allow it to apply to my own life because it stuck me so heavenly. Another example is the man who feels his 24 hours a day is his own and that other people who “waste” it are a bother. But what right does he have to time? It is not a gift? It would be like saying that the sun and moon are yours to own. And how if God Himself came in the flesh and demanded total service for one full day, we (in this case he) would not refuse! Any second there that we focus on ourselves becomes the waste, any second not doing what God has asked us to do is the waste. Not other people coming to us because they are too talkative or because we did not expect them. Not traffic. Nothing. We do not own the hours in the day, so other people cannot waste “our” time. Because it is not “our” time.
The chapter was about the possessive words in the English language and how if we really sat down and thought of any basis to the argument – there would be none.
And in the end… no human can say “this or that is mine”. Because in the end, it either belongs to Christ or the demons (or course, we know who wins in that battle). It ends like so (The enemy being God, of course):
They will find out in the end, never fear, to whom their time, their souls and their bodies really belong – certainly not to them, whatever happens. At present the Enemy says “Mine” or everything on the pedantic, legalistic ground that He made it.
PS: please please PLEASE leave a comment about either a book you have read that taught you a lot (even if you would like to direct me to a chapter in the Bible) or your take on this chapter of Screwtape Letters (or the book as a whole if you have read it)