People are complex. You can take the same person, and the ideas about that person can vary depending on who you talk to. We do not experience the same people in the same way. Consider ourselves. Hopefully we are the same person with everyone, but let’s be honest. This is not always so, especially if we are young or otherwise immature in the faith and have much growing to do.
If we want to be good examples of a Christian, it can be honorable to put our best face forward at times, and those who see that side of us might have a great impression of our character. However, when put to the test by difficult situations, it can be revealed that we are not as compassionate, merciful, faithful, or otherwise righteous as we might have seemed. This can go the other way also. People can be generally upright, yet our opinion of them is based on an instance of weakness or hearsay.
This poses some interesting problems concerning things like gossip and showing favoritism between the brethren. This also poses problems with mercy, forgiveness, and holding faith for the new natures of our brethren in Christ.
When a brother or sister is found in fault, we should consider a few things. For one, we have all made mistakes. The mistake we see could be brought on by extenuating circumstances that caused their areas of weakness to come out. Instead of beating them up about it, we should discuss it with them in love and offer support. We might also thank the Lord for putting them to the test — or rather allowing the tempter to do so, because otherwise, this dark thing inside of them might have gone unnoticed. Now that it is brought to the light, it can be dealt with. This is a good thing. Sin is not good, but if we belong to the Lord, then even our struggles will work out for our ultimate good.
Ideally, if we call our selves Christian, then we will be seeking with faith a change of heart so that our outward behaviors will change naturally and in truth, negating the need for trying to force righteous behaviors — either to be seen as righteous or because we genuinely want to be that kind of upright person. How will this change happen if our hidden sins remain hidden? They must be tried and revealed to us.
On another note, we should always assume that when our brother or sister is found faulty, it is not because their previous righteousness was a show, but rather, they were trying to do right and then they were put to the test in some way, and their weakness was exposed. We should always strive to give others the benefit of the doubt. Especially those within the faith.
As we continue in the faith, our character and our faith will be tried. We will discover hidden darkness within ourselves that we would rather not be there. As we learn and grow, eventually our natures will be more align with the righteous ways of God, and we will become freed from the dual nature of darkness and light that is battling inside us, causing us to be hypocritical in nature. That is, if we are honest, humble, and faithful. Honest about our sin. Humble enough to show forgiveness and mercy to others, and faithful in the promises of our salvation that ensure healing and freedom from our sins tangibly.
There are several points being made here. To sum up, none of us really know what is going on in the hearts and lives of others. Therefore, it is wrong to show favor to one person over another, regardless of how emotionally attached we are. The version of them we see might not be the version someone else sees. We also should not despise one person over another, regardless of emotional attachment or what we are told by gossips.
All things that happen to us on our Christian journey is part of our growing. Very often, we need to be put to the test in order to grow. That growth is much more likely to occur when we have support, not ridicule, gossip, favoritism, or accusations of hypocrisy. We should show mercy to all and let the Lord deal with their sincerity or lack there of.
Although we are going on to perfection, none but Jesus lived a perfect life. We should glorify none but God and show mercy to all who strive in the faith.