As soon as the preschooler understands that symbols represent sounds that he already knows, he or she is introduced to the ABC’s. They are the basic beginning of the English written language and the building blocks of future learning. Step by step the student is introduced to the rest of the alphabet and the wonderful joy of reading and writing.

Satan also has his ABC’s that he wants any unwary “student” to master. He may start off with Anger, go on to Bitterness and elide into Conflicts. He will attempt to persuade people that “righteous” anger is normal and even desirable. If this anger is not squelched, (Ps 37:8) the next step could easily be bitterness and resentment toward the target of one’s anger. Brant Hansen in his book UNOFFENDABLE has some valuable Biblical and practical ways to circumvent and avoid the anger trap by refusing to be offended by other people’s remarks and actions. If one stews long enough over this volatile combination, conflict can often surface. It may be vocal or even physical but will be destructive to relationships. If the pupil doesn’t exit quickly, Professor Satan will delight in teaching pupils more of his brutal alphabet—accusations, afflictions, arrogance, alienations, betrayal, blame, blasphemy, cheating, conceit, contempt—just to name a few.

Thankfully Jesus has better ABC’s for new babes in Christ. He starts with Acceptance (Rom 11: 15) and Adoption of a repentant “student”. He promises Abundant life here and now ( Jo 10:10) and will Always be with us in times of trial. (Mt 28: 20) Many other Blessings will be ours as we progress on our journey to eternity. We will Belong to Jesus (Rom 1:6) ( Rom 14:8) and will be Blameless in his sight.(Eph 14) As the motivated pupil graduates from milk to meat (spiritually) he or she will discover Charity (love) (1 Cor 13) and how to pass it on to others. We’ll Care for the poor And needy. (Lk 10:34) We’ll escape the Captivity of Satan. (2 Ti 2:26) We’ll Develop into the Character of Christ. (Rom 5:4) Just as the little child reaps the reward of reading books, the child of God will reap the escape from anger and bitterness and attain the indescribable joys of heaven. (Rev 21:14) (Col 1: 5)

—Jim Bailey