When I first started cooking in camp, I was taught the “proper” way to care for cast iron pans. I was told that it was strictly forbidden to wash cast iron with soap, as it would take the seasoning off the pans. I embraced this instruction wholeheartedly, because what they said made sense to me. Soap is a de-greaser and since the seasoning on the pans was oil rubbed in to the iron, it made complete sense therefore to not wash the cast iron in the soapy water because it would take the grease off the pan and damage the seasoning that protected the pan.
I became an ambassador for the proper way of taking care of cast iron. I preached to my mom, who for years had been washing her pans in soapy water. I taught this to my cook’s assistants over the years and I educated people that I came across along the way who were caring for their cast iron wrongly. I was sincere in my efforts and genuinely believed everything I was telling people about their cast iron pans, just as I was religious in following the rules myself.
Then I came across some science that revolutionized my way of thinking. Apparently it’s a myth that you shouldn’t wash cast iron pans in soapy water, because even though the soap is a de-greaser and the seasoning is comprised of grease, the grease or oil on the pan has been polymerized. In plain English, the oil has been broken down or changed into a plastic-like material that has bonded with the surface metal of the pan. It is this thin layer of hardened oil/plastic that coasts the pan and gives it it’s non-stick properties; and since it is no longer grease covering the pan it will no longer be affected by the soapy de-greaser.
Lightbulb! Whoo hoo! No longer have to stick to the rigid rules of no cast iron in the soapy water! Freedom! And so instead of struggling to scrub out a dirty pan with plain water, I find myself giving it a proper good scrub-out with soap and getting a nice clean pan before I dry it off and re-oil it.
The funny thing was, recently I was “caught” by someone I had taught about cast iron years ago. They were watching me wash my pan in soapy water and the horror on their face was so funny and yet, I knew exactly what they were thinking, because not long ago I had been there. I had to tell them I had changed my stance and why, and I’m not sure if they got it or not and if it’ll change their “life” like it had mine, but hey, I’d done my part.
There is a story in the Bible that I came across that shows a similar need for a change of mind. Jesus was on his way to Caesarea Philippi with his disciples, after he had restored sight to a blind man in Bethsaida and fed 4000 people with seven loaves of bread and a few small fishes. He asked them while they traveled along, who the people saying he was. The consensus among them was that many were saying he was John the Baptist; though others said he was Elijah and still others, that he was one of the prophets. Then Jesus asked them who they themselves said he was, and Peter proposes that he is the Messiah—the Savior that all the Jews were waiting for. Jesus warns them not to tell anyone and then proceeds to explain that this Messiah that they were all waiting for must suffer many things, be killed and then after three days he will rise again. He refers to himself here as the Son of Man which reminds his listeners that day of the prophesies of Daniel that point to “one like a son of man” who is God’s anointed one that would come in power and glory and all authority to set up an everlasting kingdom on earth. (See Daniel 7:13-14)
At this Peter, takes him aside and begins to rebuke him in the same tone that Jesus earlier used to cast demons out of people!
Why would Peter, who just moments before identified Jesus as the long-awaited for hope of Israel, turn on him and condemn him so vehemently!
As Timothy Keller explains in his book “Jesus the King”, “From his mother’s knee Peter had always been told that when the Messiah came he would defeat evil and injustice by ascending the throne. But here Jesus is saying, ‘Yes, I’m the Messiah, the King, but I came not to live but to die. I’m not here to take power but to lose it; I’m here not to rule but to serve. And that’s how I’m going to defeat evil and put everything right.’”
Peter, like the rest of his people, had never before connected suffering with the Messiah, their Savior! It made no sense at all, even though they knew of many scriptures regarding a mysterious Servant of the Lord who suffers, they had never connected the dots that those texts were describing the Messiah. The anointed one of God was supposed to come in glory and power and triumph over the ugly, the vile, the nefarious and set everything right in the world, how then could he be tortured and killed? That just seemed ludicrous to Peter! All that he had been taught and what made sense in his own mind was now being challenged to it’s very core!
Jesus turns and rebukes Peter just as strongly and says that Peter needs to change his mind because He’s only thinking in his limited human capacity and not with the mind of God. And even though Peter walked and talked and lived with Jesus for a years, it took until the hard evidence of Jesus actually suffering, dying and rising again that Peter was able to change his thinking from what he had been taught all his life to what was really true and of God!
A light bulb had come on! If you must say, a tongue of fire danced on his head! And he was free to live unconcerned about the religion that had restricted his habits most his life and was able to live and act in the freedom he found a Savior that needed to suffer, be killed and rise again three days later in order to set everything in the world right.
There come moments in life when we reach a point where we are compelled to think differently about what we thought we knew was true––just like Peter and myself were confronted with a need to change our stance on what we believed to be right. We were faced with a choice to stay with what was familiar rather than embrace the new approach; mindsets are difficult to change even when confronted with evidence to the contrary.
I changed because it made my life easier and lessened the restraints I was adhering to. Peter changed because he was compelled by the overwhelming love of a man he came to know as not just his friend but as the Savior of the world. He was moved by a hope that even if it all seemed backwards to most of his countrymen, God truly was at work to set things right. He was so convinced by this revelation that he spent the rest of his life telling others who had grown up with the same ideas like him, that they too needed change their minds about who the Messiah was and what he was really about.
He was doing exactly what Jesus had been saying right before he was called to become a disciple. Jesus was preaching the good news, “The [appointed period of] time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, regret past sins, live your life in a way that proves repentance; seek God’s purpose for your life] and believe [with a deep, abiding trust] in the good news [regarding salvation].” (Mark 1:15 Amp)
Disclaimer: I wrote this for my church this past Sunday and I just want to qualify that this is not about changing your mind on a whim. We are confronted with lots of ideas out there and not all of them require a change of mind, but if you think you are facing such a change, it is a good thing to talk with others and most importantly to pray and ask for wisdom from God. It is not to be tossed about like a boat on high seas, but a studied, well-mulled over thought process that takes into account evidences you have experienced.