Somehow I don't think this boy really wants that morsel of food. In fact, he seems to NOT want it. Who knows why? Perhaps there is medicine mixed with it or maybe its just something he left on his plate that his parents wanted him to finish. Maybe its a punishment or a promise or one of a hundred possibilities? One thing is for sure, its not pleasant to look at this youngster; it brings back too many memories or things I HAD TO DO when I was young. As I kept looking at the picture, it reminded me of the Corinthians and how they ultimately dealt with the sin referred to in Paul's first letter.
(1) I decided not to visit you again while I was distressed.
(2) After all, if I had made you uncomfortable, how could you have cheered me up when you were uncomfortable?
(3) This is the very reason I wrote to you. I didn't want to visit you and be distressed by those who should make me happy. I'm confident about all of you that whatever makes me happy also makes you happy.
(4) I was deeply troubled and anguished. In fact, I had tears in my eyes when I wrote to you. I didn't write to make you uncomfortable but to let you know how much I love you.
(5) If someone caused distress, I'm not the one really affected. To some extent-although I don't want to emphasize this too much-it has affected all of you.
(6) The majority of you have imposed a severe enough punishment on that person.
(7) So now forgive and comfort him. Such distress could overwhelm someone like that if he's not forgiven and comforted.
(8) That is why I urge you to assure him that you love him.
(9) I had also written to you to test you. I wanted to see if you would be obedient in every way.
(10) If you forgive someone, so do I. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did in the presence of Christ for your benefit.
(11) I don't want Satan to outwit us. After all, we are not ignorant about Satan's scheming.
The Corinthians had taken their medicine; they had dealt with their problems and now need to restore an atmosphere of love. After all, wasn't that the motivation for correction in the first place? My heart goes out to the boy in the picture, much as Paul's did for the one who needed discipline, but what is necessary needs to be done and that is that. But, somehow a line comes back to me from the movie "Mary Poppins", where Julie Andrews sings that "a teaspoon of sugar helps the medicine go down". That's the easy way to accomplish what is needed; the picture seems to be the hard way!