"And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh."
What is meant by 'the garment stained by the flesh'? This particular garment spoken of was the first layer of clothing worn next to the skin, under the visible outer cloak. Though hidden, it is permeated with the personal perspiration of the one wearing it. The stains are the essence of corruption inherent to those polluted by sin. For believers, it is everything contrary to being Holy and separated to God.
In our passion to reach the lost, in our compassion to help our brothers, there lies in wait the temptations of the world. One of the greatest being the struggle of compromising our own holiness out of fear of what others may think of us.
"Saul said to Samuel, 'I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice." (1 Samuel 15:24)
The cost of compromise is the enabling of rebellion and the staining of our witness. Like the undergarment, the true motives of anyone is concealed, but like the odor given off from soiled garments, their rebellious nature will reveal their spiritual condition, should we be so equipped to discern it. (see Hebrews 5:14) We should commit to nothing contrary to Truth while we serve in the name of Love. Remember, it is better to obey than to sacrifice.
"Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted." (Galatians 6:1)