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Measuring Rods

An Exercise in Screwtaping

Woman in plaid dress holding her hand over her head to measure her height

“For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured unto you again.” Luke 6: 38

Humans try to measure self and other by different rulers, but it isn’t possible. They ought to know better—it’s in the Enemy’s Guidebook–but few of them read it, and even fewer live it.

The contradiction provides ample opportunity for us. All you need to do is to convince her to behave ungenerously toward someone else—anyone else—and she will then feel ungenerously toward herself. Ill feelings can then spread by contagion to all within her sphere.

Allow me to illustrate:

Entice her to find fault with her husband. Immediately upon making harsh judgement, she will sense fault with herself. But she will not see it thus—humans are trained to project responsibility for their inner state on to something (or someone) external. So rather than acknowledging her fault, she will heap more blame on him! Of course this solves nothing, except that she will now be more confused about her inner state of unrest, and more likely to blame others for her self-loathing.

Ah! I confess, it fills me with delight. It is by this simple means that petty annoyance blossoms into communicable hatred.

What in the name of satire—? Confused by the devilish tone? Intrigued by the irony? This post is part of a Screwtaping series. Check out the full story (and more Tempts) here.

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Jenny Harris
Jenny is a star-gazing, book-clubbing mother of two. She has a Master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies, which is mildly comical (but also a boon in parenting and relationships). Her kids will attest that she’s crazy about reading aloud, time out of doors, and creative play. Her family’s goal is the “abundant life,” as prescribed by Jesus. You can read more posts by Jenny here.

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