“Sweep around your own front door.”

Years ago, while attending the “Gospel Fest” at Jackson Park in downtown Chicago by Lake Michigan, I heard 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.”

In John 21:22 Jesus said to Peter, “What is that to you? Follow me.” It seemed Peter always had strong opinions about life and other people. 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, most of the disciples were still very emotionally immature.

One sign of maturity is knowing what garden to tend. You will have plenty to do puling the weeds in your own garden. Don’t worry about 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 your family members and friends are living with the 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 at times. 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.” 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. You will have plenty to do.

In 53 years of working with people, quoting a famous insurance commercial, “I’ve learned a thing or two.” First, if people are determined to let weeds grow in their life, you will wear yourself out trying to keep them “weed-free.” Second, there are few things harder than trying to teach someone something they think they already know. Sometimes it’s best just to let them take the 100-yard dash in a 90-yard gym.