I don’t listen to the radio much anymore, but my husband and I recently went on a trip to Gatlinburg that requires several hours of driving time, so we listened to quite a bit of radio.
One of the songs I heard was pretty entertaining; the song was made up entirely of witty southern colloquial phrases, including “Mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy”. Others that I found not only entertaining but immensely pertinent included phrases like “Hoe your own row” and “Taking down your neighbor won’t take you any higher”.
The singer, Kacey Musgraves, includes several other phrases in her catchy little tune, but the longer I thought about the title, the more I liked the song. Just think about how much better life would be if everyone focused more on improving themselves than worrying about what others are lacking.
What if we stopped rejoicing secretly in others’ misfortunes? What if we stopped spreading gossip? What if we applied the sermon to ourselves instead of the guy two rows in front of us?
What if, just what if, we held ourselves to the same standards that we hold everyone else to?
Now, that song is far from a gospel hymn, but you can definitely apply its quirky little ideas to Biblical teaching.
Remember the verse about not judging others incorrectly in the sermon on the mount? That’s right. It doesn’t say not to judge at all. Sure, if you stop reading after verse one in Matthew chapter 7 (Judge not that you be not judged), it certainly sounds that way. Put the verse in context with the rest of the verses, and you will understand that it says we have to judge in the right conditions.
I’ve heard the verse misused so many times it isn’t even funny. Too many people use this to condone sin, which is not what our Lord was intending. We can’t hide behind the phrase “who am I to judge?” just so we don’t have to tell a co-worker or family member (lovingly and with sincerity) they shouldn’t be living in adultery. We are to teach God’s word, all of it, to everyone. How can we help show people God’s way of living if we aren’t allowed to make the judgement of whether or not they are living that way already? It says we will be judged according to how we judge others. We will be measured in the same way that we measure others. If I’m living in adultery myself, I certainly shouldn’t be telling someone else they shouldn’t be. I shouldn’t be telling my patients to stop smoking if I’m a smoker myself. I have to take care of me first.
We have to take care of our own sins before we can help others turn away from their sins.
In Matthew 7:4-5, the Christ calls his listeners hypocrites, going on to say that they need to remove the beam from their own eyes before they can see clearly to remove the speck from their brothers’ eyes. He didn’t tell them not to judge their brother at all, he told them in his own words to “Hoe their own rows” before they could judge whether or not their brother needs help with his sins.
So how do I know if my hypothetical biscuits aren’t burning? We have to look to God’s Word and see how we are measuring up. Constant self-evaluation is not only helpful, it’s vital to our Christian walk.
Lamentations 3:40 says, “Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord.”
Galatians 6:4 says, “But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.”
For those of us who are already Christians, take action today. If you read this before your next mid-week Bible study, for example, make sure that you focus on yourself. Get yourself and your family to the Church building. When the song leader calls out the hymn number, open your own book and then your own mouth to sing. Don’t worry about who else should be there and who else should be singing. When the preacher or teacher directs you in study, don’t focus on his style or whether or not he’s entertaining, focus on what he’s saying and whether or not it’s what the Bible teaches, first of all, and then whether or not it’s something you personally need to work on. Don’t apply it to your husband, sister, or neighbor. Apply it to you. Once you’ve got all that down pat, then call that neighbor that should’ve been there and see if they’d like to come next week.
Just think about it this way, if we are all focusing on improving ourselves on loving one another, refraining from lying, stealing, and cheating, studying our Bibles more, and caring for the sick, for example, we are all improving together. If we are all focusing on bettering ourselves, we won’t have much judging to do, now will we?
Just mind your own biscuits, and life will be gravy!