Library News – February

I looked into his face and saw the gates of Hell. Not evil itself, rather the devastation caused by evil. A closed and corrupted soul, so completely absorbed into itself that even the remnants of guilt he felt for his behaviour were turned into another way of proving himself superior. A self-centredness that allowed no other subject for its attention.
I was seriously frightened. I wanted to run. But God said no. The Shepherd is always looking for His lost sheep, and if I am in the place where one is, I have to try and do His work with Him.
How does a person get so lost? I had watched with sadness over the years as our friend began to build a wall around himself, stiffening into a rigid authoritarian. He seemed to have a need to show himself rather than the rest of us that he was always right, had better knowledge, superior understanding. An accident gave him that wonderful victim’s ego trip, the household organised around his needs. Step by step into the darkness and the loneliness of self.
It could, I saw, happen to us all.
The book I turned to for help was C. S. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters”. We have in the Library many books that can help us live the Christian life. They show us how to read the Bible, how to pray, how to grow in love, how to walk the path towards our God. We don’t seem to have very many that show us the other path, the one our friend has taken, step by step away from God and His life. We do, I think, need to see that path, so that we notice the danger signs, the choices to avoid. “The Screwtape Letters” and John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” were the only ones I could find, and an essay by C. S. Lewis called “The Inner Ring” in a collection of essays called “Screwtape Proposes a Toast”.
Screwtape is 70 plus years old, set in WW2, but what it shows is as real now as it was then. Read it and see yourself, and perhaps it will help you to help someone else. I hope so.
Rosemary Smith

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