A majority of pastors are "feelers," meaning that the feelings, the dignity, and the approval of people tend to rank high in their decision-making process.
Since I am by nature a "feeler," having to rebuke someone has always been difficult for me. I would rather be rebuked than to rebuke. Why? I struggle with the confidence that my judgment of a person's actions or attitudes is the correct one because I tend to see many sides to every story. I fear the possible loss of a relationship. I do not like to wound people.
The following are principles of rebuke that I have found helpful:
- Make sure that there is no way my rebuke can be misunderstood.
- Never rebuke someone when my anger is hot.
- Don't rebuke in writing or by phone; only face to face (and, if necessary, with a witness).
- Don't destroy the other's dignity.
- Make sure I have the whole story.
- Make sure my own motives and purposes are clarified.
- Make sure that I identify the implications of the behavior.
- Always provide an opportunity for the person to acknowledge wrong and gain a new start.