This past Sunday during our church’s sermon discussion group, I used an analogy about cookware to point out that the more we talk or think about something, the more we gain an appreciation and love for it. The depth of our knowledge will increase our enjoyment. It was meant to encourage us towards thinking about God more. But then people started asking me about fry pans.
During the discussion, I talked about how non-stick fry pans could kill you. Or at the very least, they can introduce unwanted toxins into your food if you use the pans improperly, which is super easy to do.
Most of these non-stick pans are “non-stick” because of a thin, surface-layer coating on top of an aluminum base. Aluminum conducts heat very well, which means it spreads heat evenly while cooking (this is why so much cookware has an aluminum base). But it isn’t a food-safe cooking surface because your body can absorb the aluminum through eating the food that is cooked on it.
This raised level of aluminum in the body has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease in the past, although other studies say the results are inconclusive.
In general, it’s safe to say that aluminum is not a food-safe cooking surface. Plus it reacts to acidic food and makes it taste bad.
The greater danger with non-stick fry pans is actually the thin surface-layer that makes the pan “non-stick”. These non-stick surfaces come in various forms, but the most famous, or infamous if you ask me, is Teflon. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that you have eaten Teflon or similar chemical compounds at some point in your life. The reason I am sure of this is because of how common and fragile Teflon is.
If you read the instructions on a non-stick pan, it gives you parameters on how to use it properly. Usually it’s things like, never use metal utensils on it (because it will scratch the Teflon), never use high heat on it (because it degrades the Teflon and will leach into the food and air), never nest a smaller pan inside a larger pan (because it will scratch the Teflon), etc.
I can confidently say that you or your family has broken one or all of these rules. This means that you have eaten Teflon. It scratches off and tiny particles of Teflon go into your food. You have even breathed it in.
When Teflon is overheated, toxic fumes are released and have even been shown to kill small birds (Caveat: birds have extra-sensitive respiratory systems). That can’t be healthy. The fumes released into the air you breathe are also linked to causing flu-like symptoms in humans. Teflon can be bad.
How can I possibly spiritualize toxic fry pans? Easy Peazy.
Toxic fry pans exist because humans wanted to create something to make life more convenient. Yet convenience came at a cost. When this luxury is abused, it slowly creates toxic death.
It all seems so good and innocent. Food doesn’t stick! Easy to clean! Lightweight! What’s not to love?! But that thin layer of convenience is silently seeping into your food, air, and blood, traveling throughout your entire body as you enjoy that delicious spam and eggs. YUM!
Often times, we don’t think about the effects of something if there is no immediate consequence. “Hey, I didn’t die!” But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t consequences, even deadly ones. When we abuse the conveniences of our lives, we often slowly allow a cache of toxins to build up in our lives. Toxins that will lead to death.
Now fortunately, science and research is saying although ingesting or inhaling Teflon is bad for you, there probably isn’t a cancer link. Safer manufacturing practices have made non-stick pans safer, although you should still always follow careful instructions.
But what about other toxins in our lives?
Whether it’s a little materialism, a little lust, a little anger, a little gossip, a little laziness, a little folding of the hands…
Proverbs 6:10-11 tells us, “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.”
James 3:5–6 states, “So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a fire is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.”
King David only had to see Bathsheba for a moment to allow the lust in his heart to grow into full blown lies and murder.
My point is this. A little sin built up over time can kill you.
James 1:15 says, “Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
It might not kill you right away, but make no mistake, if you let it grow, it will eventually kill you. What can we do about it? What’s the answer to this slow buildup of toxins in our body? CAST IRON. oops, I mean JESUS CHRIST. If you are struggling with sin, allowing the little conveniences of sin to build up deadly toxins in your soul, it’s time to acknowledge those things and throw them out. The Bible word is repent. Stop using them altogether and replace them completely.
When I learned about the potential risks of Teflon, I didn’t want to take any chances. I threw out every Teflon pot and pan I had and replaced it with other cookware, like cast iron, stainless steel, and enameled lead-free pottery.
If you realize that there is a little sin in your life that you keep coming back to, it’s time to throw it out completely. And replace them with something, someone who will not poison you, but heal you.
Hebrews 12:1–2: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Ronnie Park is the lead pastor of the English speaking congregation at Good Stewards Church in West Covina.