The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. (1 Tim. 5:24)

Over a decade ago, I was teetering on the edge of a dangerous depression. As tends to be the case, I was together on the outside—full of grace and grit—but my daily reality was a complete failure. One of my dear friends at the time would occasionally come by my house while I was away. She vacuumed the floors, laundered the clothes, washed the dishes, and tidied the house. Only a few people knew of my desperate state and so, out of respect for me and to preserve my dignity, she did this work quietly and selflessly, with the love of a sister. She did not proclaim her good works to the world. There were no self-congratulatory Facebook posts. I am still humbled by her sacrifice.

It is tempting to broadcast our good works but conceal our sin. Similarly, it is easy to notice others’ sin and miss their goodness. But in his letter, Paul reminded Timothy that the truth is not always on the surface. Not only do our brothers and sisters in Christ struggle more than we may realize, sometimes they also sacrifice more than we know.

Whether it is secret sin or quiet self-sacrifice, this Scripture passage reminds us that, ultimately, nothing remains hidden. Our posture should be that of patient goodwill as ultimately, both sin and good works will be revealed.

Never assume that you have complete understanding about another’s life or motives.

Dalene Fisher is a wife and mother. She serves as the dean of arts and sciences at Oklahoma Wesleyan University.

© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.