The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis– letter 11

Chapter 11 continues Screwtape’s assessment of “the patient’s” new friends. The ‘laughter’ of friendship can be derived from multiple sources, and may (according to Screwtape) come in 4 different forms– each with its own potential to lead “the patient” closer to, or further from, God. Chapter 11 can be downloaded here:

The impact of our speech and conversation– on others and upon ourself– is so significant that Paul warns the Ephesians to take great care. The premise of this warning is that we are God’s holy people. We are to behave and to speak as those set apart for God, with no ‘share’ (partnership) with the disobedient. Paul writes:

3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.

Ephesians 5:3-7

For your reflection:

  • We all enjoy the banter and laughter of good friendship. Which of the four forms of laughter typify you and your friends: (i) Joy, (ii) Fun, (iii) the Joke Proper, and (iv) Flippancy?
  • Why might Flippancy be particularly ‘risky’ for the Christian?
  • How might you cultivate Joy in your friendships?
  • How might you cultivate greater gratitude and thanksgiving in your life (see v4 above).