A compass helps us determine the direction to the north, south, east, and west. It is a great help to many people including pilots, sailors, climbers, and architects. This is because we can achieve our goals only when we know the right direction and take the right way.
東問西答 which is a Chinese expression means "Asking about the East Gate and getting answers about the West." That is, it means that one gives totally irrelevant answers to the questions. Then, what is the reason that people give such irrelevant answers? In most of cases it is because they have dishonesty in their hearts. Irrelevant answers include cases when you lie without knowing it and giving excuses and reasons.
You can become men of spirit who God wants when you achieve an honest heart by finding the reasons you give irrelevant answers. Let's examine the reasons.
People usually give irrelevant answers to hide the truth when they think they are faced with unfavorable situations or they have something that they want to hide. Let's check ourselves thinking of the Word of God and how you answer others' questions.
"But let your statement be, 'Yes, yes' or 'No, no'; anything beyond these is of evil." (Matthew 5:37)
Q: How many people came to the meeting yesterday? A: Well, I think the meeting was not well-publicized. Q: So how many people did come? A: Not too many.
Exemplary Answer: Ten people came.
Q: Son, where are you? A: I am outside, Mom. Q: Where are you? A: I am with my friends.
Exemplary Answer: I am at the church.
Q: Your outfit looks good on you. Is this new? A: Thank-you, but it wasn't really that expensive.
Exemplary Answer: Yes or No.
Q: Did you have lunch? A: I felt sick a little.
Exemplary Answer: Yes or No.
1. Irrelevant answers because of unnecessary idle thoughts
If you do not listen to others' questions intently, the questions can 'go in one ear and out the other' or you may make judgments about the speaker from within your own idle thoughts. As a result, you give irrelevant answers. When some people see and hear something, they develop a train of mixed thoughts. They cannot help but give irrelevant answers to questions because they can't control these thoughts.
Let's say a person asks someone "Who, when, where did such and such occur? In detail, will you what they did?" If the listener has a lot of fleshly thoughts, he misses the second question and others while thinking about how he will answer the first question. He should have stopped all unnecessary thoughts and listened intently to all questions. The moment thoughts move to other things the result will be irrelevant answers.
Some people even interrupt others and cut them off as they are speaking. When they do, they can't figure out the purport of the inquiry and it results in irrelevant answers.
2. Irrelevant answers intended to hide the truth
If a pastor asks you "how many hours are you praying each day?" You should answer with the exact number of hours that you pray like, "I pray for two hours daily". But some of you might answer like this, "I can't pray much these days because I am busy." Why do you give such an answer? This is because you might feel embarrassed if you tell the truth. So you intentionally want to hide the truth and end up lying and giving an irrelevant answer. To avoid embarrassment for a while and hide your wrongdoing, you give an excuse and other reasons. In effect you give irrelevant answers.
3. Irrelevant answers because you have you own answers
Even though someone asks you a question, some of you don't answer the question but talk about what you want to say. This is because you already have things that you want to say and you may even want to lead the conversation for your benefit or advantage. With such a heart you keep disobeying even the words of superiors. You cut people off in the middle of what they are saying to say what you want to say.
In other words, if you have selfish motives and greed with which you push your opinions, you will give irrelevant answers and disobey. But you will be guided to the way of blessings when you seek others' benefits and obey them, not when you try to get what you want even if others' opinions don't agree with yours.
4. Irrelevant answers because you want to shift responsibility to others
People make mistakes. When you acknowledge mistakes, you can quickly make up for them. But some people give irrelevant answers to make excuses for their mistakes. They may even deny it and blame it on others. Although they run away from the problem for a moment, they will be faced with bigger problems some day. More important is the fact that even if you can deceive others and avoid responsibility when you try to shift the responsibility to others, your faith is not right in God's sight.
5. Irrelevant answers because you want to judge what is right or wrong
You give irrelevant answers because you have a heart that seeks personal benefit and you become the judge of what is right or wrong, namely, you can't endure harm that comes to you. In addition, if you take credit for what is done right, but don't accept responsibility something wrong and don't make mistakes, but blame others for their faults, you must cast off such characteristics of the heart. You have to throw away the heart that can't put up with harm that comes to you.
6. Irrelevant answers because you don't understand the questions
You can't help but give irrelevant answers if you don't understand the questions. Jesus' disciples couldn't accept His words spiritually, so they answered inappropriately because they couldn't understand His words. This was because they couldn't realize who Jesus was spiritually at that time. If we trust someone, then we should be able to ask the meaning of the question if we think it might have a meaning other than that as we understood it.
In this way, when we accept the words of the Bible spiritually and apply them to ourselves, we can find out answers to our problems. On the contrary, we accept them in a fleshly way, we will give irrelevant answers. Therefore, we should have an honest heart by changing our hearts into the truth in fullness of the Spirit.
TIP - Three Points that You Ought to Consider Before Speaking
The words of our mouths are one of measuring tools to check if we dwell perfectly in God's Word. By carefully thinking about our words in daily life, we can check if words give grace to others and we can make a habit of speaking good and beautiful words.
First, "Is it true?"
You must check if what you are about to say is true. Is it a story that you heard from others? Is it just a rumor? You have to check such things and then speak.
Second, "Do I really have to talk about this now?'
Even if what you are about to say is true, you have to think about the necessity of your words in the situation. Even if you saw something or heard something, you don't have to always spread what was seen or heard.
Thirdly, "Will my words spoken with moral integrity?"
Even if what you are about to say is necessary, you have to consider the time, place, situation given to you because there are appropriate and inappropriate words. Even if what you are about to say is true and necessary in the situation, you should carefully check if your words will be beneficial and give grace to others.