My wife often chides me for not giving a straight answer when she asks me what I want for dinner.
I don’t tell her what I want for dinner because I don’t know what she has in the pantry and I know that whatever she makes will be good.
Our house isn’t a restaurant and I’ve been taught to eat the food that’s put in front of me. When it comes to something that matters, though, she knows she’ll get a straight answer.
Recently, while on vacation, we heard a news story about students who got partial credit for knowing how to follow a train of thought on a simple math problem, despite the fact that the answer was incorrect.
Not getting the correct answer in simple math is a really big problem because math is an exact science and a lot of things hinge on accuracy. Lack of strong math skills may have contributed to cashiers who can’t return correct change without help and the need for cash registers with pictures of products instead of a number pad.
A few pennies difference in change may seem minor, but apply that same lackadaisical attitude about accuracy to the national economy or the stock exchange and the effects can be disastrous.
Some can’t even do simple multiplication in their heads because the “times tables” were replaced by calculators in the third grade. Now they’re stuck when they can’t access their cell phone’s calculator feature because they’ve used up the battery sending text messages all day.
It’s quite likely that some of the students weren’t able to follow the train of thought or even to remember the correct mathematical answer if they did have the capacity to process the concept (the example the news program showed was 2 +2 = 5, but I’d bet the actual problem was not that simple).
Either case is OK, but we must expect the best each can do and reward them according to the same standard. People are different, but the standard for performance must remain consistent for society to be able to maximize the use of each person’s talents with confidence.
James 5:12 tell us to let our “Yes” be “Yes” and our “No” be “No” without having to give any oath to verify our statement. We’re to give straight, correct answers when it matters. God spells out what matters to him regarding how we take advantage of his saving grace and continue on our journey to heaven.
A lot of things that we make a big deal out of just don’t matter to him (1 Corinthians 8: 8; Romans 14: 17, 18). Still, when we fail to do our best in every situation, there will be consequences (James 4: 17; Numbers 32: 23; Genesis 4: 7; Romans 3: 23; 6: 23).
Let’s make sure we don’t minimize the things that do matter pertaining to our salvation (Galatians 1: 6-9; Acts 2: 36-39; 22: 16; 1 Peter 1: 17-25).
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan. Contact him at: