Here are some thoughts I have after some years of engaging this delicate issue.
1. While I think we need to be forbearant and gracious to each other's faults, I have found that there are times when I sense the Lord leading me to talk to someone about a smaller infraction in their life (one not harmful to anyone). I sense that the issue is small and in a sense petty, but I think God wants me to still let them know it exists. When I asked for wisdom on a specifically small matter I was reminded of the imperative (infinitive) in Matthew 7 about “removing the speck from a brother’s eye.” If our eyes are clear of planks than we are obligated, at times (key word), to remove the “speck” (”splinter”) from our brother’s eye. This is Carson and Blomberg's view as well. It seems, according to me, proper to define “speck” as a small moral defect. However, it is interesting to note that Jesus might have been using hyperbole, in which case, He was contrasting large and small to get the point across not to make us look for specks everywhere. So the speck might be considered larger in relation to reality.
2. Matthew 18:15-20 is interesting because in light of it's context, there seems to be some connection between “If your brother sins” and the fact that God wants us to go after sheep who are “led astray” (”deceived”) or in danger of being lost. Keener would say that "sins against you" are in view (textual variant) because of the close proximity of the community's living arrangements. However, perhaps there are some sins that definitely require confrontation because they are flagrant, open, public, or detrimental to the one committing them or to others. I have been in situations where someone was clearly not willing to obey the governing authorities and I mentioned their behavior to them with 2 Scriptural proofs and they refused to hear me and it seemed right to take another along with me to “establish every matter by the testimony of 2 or 3 witnesses.” They ultimately refused to hear and the authorities decided to let it go.
3. Galatians 6:1,2 Brothers, if someone is caught (or “overtaken” in other translations) in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.
Debate within this passage definitely occurs regard “caught” with the meaning someone 'caught them in the act' or they were 'caught/overtaken/entangled' by the sin and need help being “restored.” It seems that the context shows that the latter is in view here. Why? (Kenneth Wuest is good here) Because earlier in the letter Paul says: “Who has bewitched you?” (3:1) This implies, as does the context, that they were trapped, deceived, or caught unaware by some trespass. And in context, it was the false teaching of the Judaizers that bewitched them. The Judaizers were mixing law and grace, circumcision and Christ, and the Galatians were overtaken subtly by the deception to the point that they had “fallen from grace.” Does that sound like someone was “caught in the act of any trespass” or that they were overtaken by the act(s) itself? The latter sounds best in my view. It is interesting to note that those who are “spiritual” are to restore the one erring. Some people note that this is any Christian who detects the sin and perhaps others think (as do I) that this refers to someone capable of “restoring them” (verb is continuous), i.e. a spiritually mature Christian. Why say this? Look at verse 2. The spiritual one is to be careful lest he be entangled by the sin as well. Any Christian, especially a new convert, should not try to help someone entangled in false doctrine. It seems possible to see this as the spiritually mature in the congregation.
Now here are some thoughts on forbearing one another’s faults and overlooking transgressions.
1. Paul says that we are to “be patient with one another, forbearing one another…” (Eph 4:31-32 and Col 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.). Using the same word, he says to the Corinthians to “put up with a little of [his] foolishness” as he explains something to them (11:1). He says this to get their attention about what he is writing, but it is interesting to note that the principle behind the thought is true and is an example for us. Certain things that might be foolish in another require forbearing and overlooking by us. One of the verbs has the idea of letting your anger go long before giving to any reaction to its source. Romans 15:1 tells the strong to “bear with the failings of the weak.”
2. It is also worthy to note 2 Timothy 4:2. “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.”
There are times when we might have to rebuke another and they might hear us but fall short in some sense of truly turning the other direction and we might wrestle with whether we need to take another along with us and go to the next step. Sometimes, this might be where you exhibit rebuking “with all patience.” John MacArthur somewhere said: “People rarely turn on a dime” so the preacher, and by extension the believer, must be patient when rebuking. Isn’t that how God is with us when we fail?
3. 1 Peter 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
Remember that this church was suffering great persecution and the temptation might have been to be nitpicky towards each other, especially since the pressure was on. Keener would say this is where we must “cover” or “throw a blanket over” many sins that might be against us or not. Others would say it only refers to sins against us and not retaliating (see Proverbs 10:12 discussions), but it seems interesting that a sin is a sin whether it is against us or not. If it is minor and against us it is still minor. And if it is minor and not against us it is still minor. It might be best to cover it.
4. “Do not be overly righteous, and die before your time.” Ecc 7:16
Interesting words from Solomon, which might be helpful to those constantly seeing the pecadillos of others. God wants you to know your limits and to not burn out because you are constantly deliberating which faults to confront or let go.
I hope that some of these thoughts are helpful and would appreciate your responses.