Since my grandchildren left The Screwtape Letters on my coffee table, I have decided to write a post on all the chapters that seem applicable to what I love to teach, namely anything concerning women. From chapter three, this man that the Devil and his helper are working on has become a believer so they are trying to find ways to make him fall away from the faith, namely, hoping he has shallow roots when any type of hard times come. In this chapter, the man is living with his mother but for the sake of this post I am going to change it to a wife living with her husband.
“The Enemy (God) will be working from the center outwards, gradually bringing more and more of the patient’s conduct under the new standard (obedience), and may reach her behavior to her husband at any moment.” You know, that whole winning him without a word thing by being in subjection to him with godly behavior that God comforts wives with in 1 Peter 3:1? Yes, this is God’s perfect prescription for winning a disobedient husband to Jesus, if he is not a believer or claims to be but is living in unrepentant sin.
“Build up between you in that house a good settled habit of mutual annoyance; daily pinpricks.” I am sure every single one of you can relate to this. How many things does your husband do that irritates you? Have you learned to stop allowing it to bother you or do you nag him to death about it? The first way builds your home up and the second one tears it down. As soon as you feel the slightest of irritation towards him, begin singing in your thoughts or out loud, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace” and remind yourself that love is longsuffering and kind.
“You must bring her to a condition in which she can practice self-examination for an hour without discovering any of those facts about herself which are perfectly clear to anyone who has ever lived in the same house with her or worked in the same office.” We all have faults. Instead of pointing fingers at others, we must concentrate on the three pointing back at us. Listen to the criticisms of those who know you best: your parents, your siblings, your spouse, and close friends. Work on these and have someone hold you accountable to get rid of them. Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves (2 Corinthians 13:5).
“Make sure that they are always very ‘spiritual’, that she is always concerned with the state of his soul and never with his rheumatism…I have had patients of my own so well in hand that they could be turned at a moment’s notice from impassioned prayer for a husband’s son or son’s soul to beating or insulting the real husband or son without a qualm.” If we are concentrated on praying for God to take away all of our husband’s sins and to walk in obedience to the Lord and His ways while ignoring our own sin and the way we treat others, we are lacking in grace and character. If your husband has aches and pains, pray for him and have compassion on him as well as his eternal soul. As you begin to have compassion on him and praying for everything concerning him, you will find yourself actually caring for and loving him more deeply.
“When two humans have lived together for many years it usually happens that each has tones of voice and expressions of face which are almost unendurably irritating to each other. Work on that…And, of course, never let her suspect that her tones and looks which similarly annoy him. As she cannot see or hear herself, this is easily managed.” If your husband says you are too harsh, loud, or disrespectful, instead of responding, “Well, you’re…”, believe him and go about stopping this behavior. Tell him you are sorry and you won’t do it again. “Go and sin no more.”
“In civilized life domestic hatred usually expresses itself by saying things which would appear quite harmless on paper (the words are not offensive) but in such a voice, or at such a moment, that they are not far short of a blow in the face. To keep this game up you and Glubose (another demon) must see to it that each of these two fools has a sort of double standard. Your patient must demand that all of her own utterances are to be taken at their face value and judged simply on the actual words, while at the same time judging all her husband’s utterances with the fullest and most over-sensitive interpretation of the tone and the context and suspected intention. He must be encouraged to do the same to her. Hence from every quarrel they can both go away convinced, or very nearly convinced, that they are quite innocent.”
One of the worst things a wife can do is over analyze her husband’s words and behaviors. Instead, learn to not get offended easily for getting offended easily is another word for self-pity and self-pity is satanic. When you find yourself becoming critical towards your husband and falling into a pit of self-pity, quickly take these thoughts captives to the Lord Jesus Christ. “I don’t think this way anymore. I am a new creature in Christ and choose to believe the best about my husband!” Make sure your words, actions, and facial expressions towards him are respectful as well, since this honors the Lord.
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord; Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.
Hebrews 12:14, 15