If I ever do have to be a can, I sure hope it's not the can my Mom found me with in the back yard of our house on 59th St when I was 7 or 8 years old. I was hard at work with a bunch of her steak knives and other needy cutlery. It seemed that when she said to me "WHAT are you doing?", it was more than a simple query. And when I told her that repeatedly stabbing this tin can would sharpen her knives, she seemed somehow doubtful. No. I would not like to be that can (or that boy, for that matter).
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
Have you ever been canned? Once, I was fired. Repeated car trouble lead to repeated tardiness at one job and when the boss showed up before I did, he lost it. He told my foreman (his brother-in-law) to fire me when I got there, and then he left.
Poor Joe eventually got around to half heartedly informing me that John told him to fire me. I think it hurt him more than it hurt me. Less than a week later John was begging me to come back, but by then I was my own sub-contractor and he had to pay me a lot more! Good old car trouble!
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Were you ever canned? I'm picturing a paint can. A bunch of harsh chemicals are dumped in the steel can and a steel cover is laid on top and beaten into place with a mallet until only a special tool and a lot of repeated effort will get it off. Those parents who stash and store their kids like this were probably treated the same way. They come to think that simply containing the elements of youth; the curiosity, the experimentation, the angst--is enough. Little thought is given to what ingredients were tossed into the can, and even less is realized about the fermentation process.
If some are contained by, and sealed in abuse there will be a rotting; when some are ignored and uncared for, there comes a spoilage; or when some are treated without justice and kindness, a debilitating discouragement will build and will last.
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
Or were you canned? Some kids are pruned and picked and processed with loving care. They are given everything they truly need and protected from harmful contaminants all along the way. While trusting teenagers wait securely under a tight seal the rightly blended ingredients are melding and coalescing to form a fine product, until one day the lid is removed. Now the young adult enters life with maturity, wisdom and good humor, and is received everywhere with gladness. A new spouse, even the world at large, is delighted again and again as the well prepared and preserved contents of that jar are served up and shared. The fruit of this process is a long fulfilled bucket list of accomplishments that bless all of society.
Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
No matter how we were 'processed' or 'canned' or 'labeled' by our families or by our own choices, our God loves and cares for us like no other. He takes us as we are when we acknowledge Him and can remake whatever is wrong.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17