“Sweep around your own front door.”

Years ago, I attended the “Gospel Fest” at Jackson Park in downtown Chicago. One of the groups I heard was the Williams Brothers, singing one of their classics, “Sweep Around Your Own Front Door.” One of the lyrics reads, “You know there are too many people trying to take care of other people’s business, and they can’t even take care of their own.”

John 21:22 says, “What is that to you? Follow me.” It seemed Peter always had strong opinions about life and others. One day, he started meddling in John’s business saying, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “What is that to you…follow me.” After more than three years of following Jesus, hearing His teaching and watching Him perform miracles, they were still emotionally immature in so many ways.

Maturity is knowing what garden to tend, and tending it well. You will have plenty to do pulling the weeds in your own garden. If it’s your neighbor’s, let them tend it or live with the weeds. If others can only get what they want by playing the martyr or guilt tripping and manipulation, that’s their issue. Don’t make it yours.

If they are living with consequences of poor decisions, it’s their consequences, not yours. If they live in denial and are unable to figure things out, the confusion is theirs, not yours. It’s your responsibility to love and pray for them, even offer help. But, it’s not your responsibility to fix or rescue them every time.

If they are not capable of showing appreciation or apologizing when they are wrong, that’s their problem, not yours. Only when they have an attitude of gratitude and the humility to acknowledge their mistakes will they progress toward maturity. In the meantime, it’s their garden. Stop trying to tend it.

If your hopes, your peace and your happiness are dependent on anyone other than God, learn to have what I call a “detached concern.” You are concerned but you don’t make it your own. Maybe God is waiting for you to stop running interference and get out-of-the-way so He can help them grow up and pull the weeds in their own garden.

The truth is, you are powerless to change anyone. But, God is not. He may let them feel some pain before relief comes. Sweep around your own front door. God will help them take care of their own.

My mom, now home in Heaven, taught me so many things, not the least of which was how to work. She often said, ”Taking care of yourself is a full-time job.”