My 3 year old son is bad. He’s not bad in a, “He’s going to end up in prison” kind of way. Kellan is bad because he knows how much he can get away with before flashing that cute, innocent smile at his mom. That smile that makes her heart melt; she forgets the milk he poured on his sister and the finger painted living room walls. It’s that weakness that many parents know, for some reason God decided to make a mother fall for her son’s and a father fall for his daughter’s smile. Paul had similar feelings whenever he received news about a church that he had planted (1 Cor. 4:14-17).
I find myself wondering if he heard from travellers or in letters how there was trouble in Corinth, or Ephesus, and he began writing a stern letter of reprimand only to then hear of the new Christians that had joined the same church. Did the positive information cause him to change the way he worded his letter? Did he rewrite many letters because he received a positive report? In reading his letters in the New Testament they are full of instruction and reprimand, not as an angry supervisor, but as a loving father guiding his child. Only someone with children can truly know the fine line between a dictator and democracy that we must balance upon. God must have surely granted Paul this wisdom that many of us must learn through failures and experience. We must also look to our fellow brothers and sisters with the eyes of a loving parent, especially those whom we have helped find Christ. We must remind them of the way of life in Christ (v. 17) and treat them as our dear children, without judgement, by giving them a good example to imitate (v. 16).