By Wormwood, Ph. D.
(Intercepted by Jesse Jost)
It is well known in the underworld that when two or more humans begin conversation, there is explosive potential power at play. Conversation can tear relationships limb from limb, and plant delicious seeds of suspicion and bitterness.
But there is also real danger here. The Enemy, the horrid Creator of the vermin, invented words to communicate love and help form emotional ties between humans as they explore their thoughts, feelings, and dreams. Conversations that have got away from us have stirred longings and ambitions and hatched schemes that have done untold damage to our cause.
Conversation done as the Enemy intended leads to the building of relationships, both with Himself and human to human. He wants conversation to be a place where people are comforted, encouraged, and inspired. The whole thing can be disgusting.
Thankfully, we have had some of the best demonic minds on this issue since the beginning, and over the millennia we have come up with such devious strategies to sabotage conversation, that today I am happy to report that, more often than not, conversation goes our way. It is truly beautiful to watch a talk between people demoralize and destroy them (and, if we’re lucky, many others, too).
Even though the state of conversations these days is very encouraging, I strongly warn you stay vigilant and active in each exchange. I would like to give you a refresher course on how to make the most of every human conversation.
First, truth is our adversary; our goal is distortion and misunderstanding. Strong relationships are built on accurate understanding of the other. When true knowledge of each other is acquired, even if the information is unpleasant, humans can use it to grow closer together. Our desire is to feed them wrong perceptions and believable misrepresentations.
There are two catastrophic things we must desperately try to avoid: careful listening, as well as situations where people feel safe enough to honestly speak their mind.
The conversations I fear most are ones in which the creatures feel perfectly safe with each other, free to be honest and vulnerable. This makes me queasy and sends a chill. It is terrifying how much of our best work can be undone in just one such talk. This toxic environment is fostered by humility, compassion, and that despicable gas they call grace. If you see a conversation where these elements are present, derail it!
Our work thrives on sweet-smelling pride, insecurity, a critical spirit, and a desire for self-promotion.
People feel safe when they are shown unconditional love and believe the other person has their best interest at heart. The openness that happens in such situations is lethal to our cause. It is so much more desirable when we can trigger anger and defensiveness. When this happens, it is beautiful. People descend into “flight or fight” mode, their blood flowing away from the brain and impairing its higher functions. In this state, it is easy to nudge people toward silence or violence. Either way is fine for us because both prevent the clear sending and receiving of honest information. Oh, the caustic comments, the name calling, and bitter sarcasm I have produced is a magnificent symphony to my ears!
When the emotions of anger and hurt run freely, people go into self-preservation more or lash out in attack and the damage spreads. Not until those emotions cool down will people become rational and willing to listen.
The other wonderful thing about the emotions is they make a person so narrowly focused it can nearly blind them. It distracts a person from what they really want to achieve. Most people a approach a conversation with a noble desire for unity, reconciliation, harmony, the free exchange of ideas, and all kinds of other putrid things. Fortunately they become easily distracted from these ambitions and end up focusing on petty things like defending their use of little details, or correcting the most inane little point and forgetting the big picture. This is, as they say in California, “fabulous.” Do your best to not let them take a step back and remember what they really want. Keep them arguing over the little stupid stuff and you got a conversation that will forever be harmless to our cause.
Next, I want to remind you of an ancient trick that helps stir up hurt and anger: storytelling. Humans observe facts and actions, which only have meaning once people tell themselves a story to interpret those facts. The emotions will respond to whatever story the people believe. For example, just seeing two people laughing doesn’t mean much to a girl, but if she tells herself the story that they are laughing at her outfit, or about a nasty rumor involving her, her emotions will rise up in anger. If she just tries to control that anger without questioning her story (i.e. maybe they are laughing about something that doesn’t involve her at all), she will fail and only get more angry that she can’t control her anger.
We do our best work in storytelling, whispering into each ear the most offensive interpretation they will believe. We tell them why a person is scowling, looking away, silent, sad, and, of course, the dark and wicked motive lurking behind otherwise innocuous jokes and comments. In this way, we stir up a delightful concoction of self-pity, offence, hurt, and misery (just a few of my favourite things).
It’s a blast, really!
But in order for this to work, we must not let the person question our story or admit they really don’t know why a person did what they did, or that they can’t see motives. Even the slightest doubt that their interpretation might not be accurate calms the emotions and opens the doors to further investigation.
These humans cannot read each other’s minds, they have little access to each other’s back story that led to certain actions and emotions. The Enemy desires them to love each other, which requires seeking greater understanding and learning to really listen.
The great and wonderful barrier to this kind of listening is the powerful weapon of assumption. Despite their woeful ignorance of each other, we have convinced most of these vermin that they are “wise and enlightened” psychologists, with great insight in human nature and a keen ability to interpret exactly why people do what they do. This being “wise in their own eyes” as the horrid book calls it, makes it easy for us to slip them subtle lies, that they assume are true. Once they jump to these assumptions, they will cling to them tenaciously, and interpret actions and comments through the lens of these assumptions. Because they assume they have people figured out already, they try to change each other rather than seeking understanding.
It’s hilarious that no matter how many times they have been devastated by being misunderstood, or criticized, or wrongly analyzed, they think nothing of treating each other the exact same way!
But the situation is not always so peachy. There are some dark and gloomy days for us, when humans come to each other in kindness and humility, seeking to understand before being understood. They apologize for hurtful remarks, and admit they have made wrong judgments. Because they come willing to yield and not seek their own agenda, we lose all our tools of manipulation. The love that is found in this brokenness reeks to the depths of hell.
Thankfully we have much in our arsenal to prevent things from getting so out of hand. Believe it or not one of the most effective deterrents is to feed them a sense of their own righteousness. This works amazing well, as the more righteous they feel, the more wise, godly, and infallible they feel as well.
This not only makes this more prone to errors of assumption, it also makes them ripe for the victim complex. It becomes easy to convince them that if there is a problem in the relationship it must be the other person’s fault, and – my favourite part – that things won’t improve until the other person repents and changes. I get giddy thinking about how well this works. Two people waiting for the other to change, my badness, it can go on forever.
Right now, there are countless rifts between humans and mounds of broken relationships. We feed their despair and keep up the illusion that reconciliation is impossible. If these people knew how fragile our position really is, and how simple reconciliation can be, the hope and healing that could be found would be disgusting.
These creatures have no idea how powerful simple words of humility and kindness can be. When they come seeking forgiveness without strings attached, and listen without condemnation and affirm their unconditional love, walls come down and bridges are rebuilt. It is simple because reconciliation is at the heart of their God. When these human take even baby steps in that direction, He is there to re-build and bring healing.
I can’t end this letter on such a depressing note, however. Be encouraged that most humans love being right rather than reconciled. They will cling to their faulty assumptions, and harsh interpretations, and suspicious attitudes, rather then embrace the freedom that brokenness and humility can bring. In this we can greatly rejoice!