C.S. Lewis’ masterpiece “Screwtape Letters” is a phenomenal book in which a senior devil instructs a younger devil how to tempt a soul. (You can find that wonderful book here)
But if the character, Wormwood, went on to tempt a mom, I think this is how Screwtape would instruct him.
My Dear Wormwood (Demon D. Younger),
I see you have been assigned a mother. I was shocked that, after your losing the last soul, you were assigned such an important person!
Mothers have and always will be the most influential people in any society. By them kings are set on their courses and future leaders’ hearts nurtured for love or for hate.
(Of course, we demons have successfully kept this truth from women in the 21st century by putting a focus on careers, unattainable beauty and a growing disdain for children.)
And moms fall for the same lies in any time or age.
Here are some lies that have worked outstandingly well for me in the past.
1. Make the Mom’s World as Tiny as Possible
If a world is tiny, it is easy to make the most minuscule mishap seem catastrophic. A spot on the rug in a tiny world is fuel for hysteria while someone who sees themselves as soldiers in an age-long spiritual battle can withstand the death of a loved one and still stand strong – strengthened by a focus on the eternal.
To that end, limit her influences – above all keep her from reading her Bible which opens a person’s eyes to the cosmic battle of time, power and love.
2. Keep the Mom’s Focus on Something Unimportant that Makes Her Feel Like a Good Mom While Losing Sight of the Important
If you can keep her running around – trying to attain perfection in enough unimportant exploits, she will never have time to notice the eternal ventures – like the character training of her children.
Of course children’s hairstyles or flurries of extracurricular activities are not bad of themselves. Your opportunity with any potential idol comes when they have grown in her mind to the point of trumping the important! Let her take pride in her victory over her daughter’s hair or her son’s music lessons until she is willing to sacrifice the sanity of her family and her own focus to achieve them.
3. Let the Mom think of Herself as a Victim
Thankfulness will destroy your work, Wormwood.
Daily bring to her mind the grievances of a leaky faucet, tight budget and a challenging child. If she thinks of herself as a victim, she will forget that she is already a victor with Him. Never let her remember that!
If you can help the root of bitterness take root in her, your battle is practically won! Especially stay-at-home moms with little outside influence can be consumed with the tiniest wrongs – letting their minds grow these wrongs into outstanding evils.
And when a person has given herself over to bitterness, their view of even the most wonderful things – like the smiles of her baby or the warmth of a home are distorted. And the woman who would normally spread joy and warmth in her home taints it with the anger and indignation that is slowly destroying her from the inside out.
4. Make sure the Mom NEVER Thinks of Her Children as Blessings
If she realizes the true value of her children, she will pour her energies into teaching them about God and His Way.
Value must be placed on almost anything besides her children. (The career that suffers because of their demands, the social life she used to have, the heels her pregnancy-ravaged hips can never handle again or any other unattainable desire will be especially effective.)
Let her view her children as leeches – filching from her energy and resources and keeping her from her true potential.
Resentment toward her children will be one of your sharpest tools!
Of course if her child was threatened by a speeding car, she would lay down her life for him in an instant, but make the small life sacrifices that are her testimony of God’s Way seem unimportant to her. (Her smile when bringing water for the 56th time, the gentle voice at 2:00am, the prayer for wisdom when breaking up a fight all stem from her realization of her children’s value and importance in God’s eternal plan.)
5. Make the Mom Think of Her Personal Identity ‘As Being Lost.’
Bring to her thoughts dreams of what she would be without the demands of her family. Let shadows of herself as a put-together, non-tired, woman play across the edges of her mind – tempting her focus and reaffirming the lie that she would be more without them.
Of course we know that motherhood is a means of sanctification – of losing oneself and being fashioned more into His image as each mother lays her life down not once but daily. (Or in the case of motherhood daily and multiple times a night as well.)
6. Make the Mom Think She has Already Failed!
If she chances to get angry and yell at her kids, make her sink into despair – forgetting that His mercies are new every morning, that He readily gives grace to the repentant sinner and that ultimately He will work – even through a sinful Mom – because of His kindness and mercy – and not because of her worth.
But your biggest ally when dealing with moms, Wormwood, is complacency.
7. Always Make the Mom Think that Her Job is NOT Important!
Grow in her mind the value of financial and social success while dimming the importance of motherhood. Let her dwell on how little she feels she is accomplishing in the world today, and go to every length to make her forget that her children will shape tomorrow.
If she does not realize that she is fighting a valuable battle, you will be victorious, and she will lose.
Of course we know that Mothers are of utmost importance to God’s plan and that they are given enough grace and strength to accomplish what He calls them to do - so take special care.
Your Affectionate Uncle,
Screw Tape (Demon D. Experienced)