C. S. Lewis on the Battle with Pride

June 10, 2013 — 1 Comment

fourbattlesIn a sermon on 1 Peter 5:1-6, The Battle With Pride, we had readers do an excerpt from C.S. Lewis’ famous Screwtape Letters. I’ve listed some great Lewis quotes on Pride and Humility below.  But if you’d like to read the whole Letter (#14) from Screwtape, just click here.

I’ll end with some background on the writing of Screwtape during WW II that you will find fascinating!

Lewis Quotes on Humility and Pride:

There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which every one in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any people, except Christians, ever imagine that they are guilty themselves. […] There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves.[…]The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit: and the virtue opposite to it, in Christian morals, is called Humility.  (Mere Christianity)

If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realize that one is proud. And a biggish step, too. [The way to take this first step, continued Lewis, is to glimpse the greatness of God and see oneself in light of it.] He and you are two things of such a kind that if you really get into any kind of touch with Him you will, in fact, be humble, feeling the infinite relief of having for once got rid of [the pretensions which have] made you restless and unhappy all your life. (Mere Christianity)

True Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less. 

After all, almost the main work of life is to come out of ourselves, out of the little dark prison we are all born in. (Yours Jack, letter)

I suppose (it seems hard saying) we should mind humiliation less if we were humbler. It is at any rate form of suffering which we can try to offer, Colossians 1:24.

Try not to think, much less speak, of their sins. One’s own are a much more profitable theme! And if on  consideration, one can find no fault on one’s own side, then cry for mercy: for this must be a most dangerous delusion. (Yours Jack, letter)

The ‘Hitler connection’ in the writing of The Screwtape Letters:

The letters were originally published in (Engl newspaper) The Guardian in 31 weekly installments – from May through November, 1941. Lewis conceived of The Screwtape Letters in the summer of 1940. On the evening of July 20th, he heard a broadcast speech by Hitler and later wrote to his brother, Warnie: “I don’t know if I am weaker than other people, but it is a positive revelation to me that while the speech lasts it is impossible not to waver just a little.”

Lewis went on to explain that (after going to worship) he was “struck by an idea for a book which I think would be both useful and entertaining. It would be called As One Devil to Another and would consist of letters from an elderly retired devil to a young devil who has just started work on his first ‘patient.’ The idea would be to give…the psychology of temptation from the other point of view.” …God becomes “The Enemy” and “Our Father’s House” is not heaven but hell…

The Screwtape Letters was greeted with great critical and popular enthusiasm when it first appeared. The book was reprinted eight times in 1942 alone. Contemporary reviewers wrote that “Lewis is in earnest with his belief in devils, and as anxious to unmask their strategy against souls as our intelligence department (is) to detect the designs of Hitler.”  (The Guardian, 13 March 1942)

NOTE: Lewis was paid £2 per letter—but he would not accept the money. Instead, he sent the editor of The Guardian a list of widows and orphans to whom the £62 was to be paid. He did the same with the fees the BBC paid for the ‘Mere Christianity’ broadcasts, and those The Guardian paid for the weekly installments of The Great Divorce in 1944–5.

SOURCE: Lewis, C. S. (2011-08-15). Screwtape Letters (Enhanced Special Illustrated Edition), Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.


One response to C. S. Lewis on the Battle with Pride


    Jarring! Thought provoking. Uncomfortable. How to balance the “dogged determination” and “self will” leadership traits with the blessed burden of parenting and humble servitude to the Kingdom?

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