The Ugly Intervention of Rebuke

wherethecherryblossomsdance asked a question:

Hello! I’ve been re-reading some of your posts on rebuking, and I was wondering if you had any more tips? A friend and I are going to be staging an intervention for a mutual friend of ours because we’re tired of seeing her in pain and hurting. I know she’s probably going to be angry with us for this, hence why I was looking for tips on how to rebuke as Jesus would, and how to deal with the aftermath.

Hey dear friend, I know that’s incredibly hard to do and I’m thankful for friends like you who are willing to get in the mess.  I’m not sure I can give you formulas or an outline, because every person and situation is so different.

The one thing I can tell you is that I have never met a single person in the world who can properly handle rebuke.  It’s tough to hear the truth about yourself.  I’m talking about me too.  Even the most mature people I’ve ever known have melted down or flipped out when I calmly explained what I thought they could do better.  It’s a natural part of us to protect ourselves.  Even “suggestions” or “ideas” can threaten other people, because we’re all about self-preservation.  The worst church experience I ever had was making a suggestion to a celebrity pastor, which resulted in a 3am phone call full of f-bombs.

So there are two stages to prepare for.  The first is the initial pushback, when your friend will get emotional about what you’re saying.  They might cuss you out, defend themselves, do ugly cry-face, or shut down.  Let them have this.  Hear them out.  Don’t be too quick to say “You’re just butt-hurt,” whatever that means.  Their defense could be totally legitimate and you can end the conversation on the spot.

The second stage is after the rebuke.  No matter how cool your friend is, things will be awkward for a while.  Maybe two days, or two weeks, or in the case of a pastor I knew, it was almost two months.  Let it ride out.

If you can expect these things, then preparation is at least half the battle.  It won’t go perfectly.  Maybe your friend will surprise you and be the very rare person who takes it well and changes.  But be ready for messiness, and keep on loving like Jesus does.

— J.S.

Also check out:

– What Breaks My Heart Is When You Don’t Hear Mine

– Say Everything

– Please Do Not Rebuke With Self-Satisfying Relish

– Approaching a Leader About Their Attitude

– If You Haven’t Been Told “You’re Wrong” In A While — You Have No Real Friends and You’re Not One Either

See As God Sees You.

The next time you’re about to take up that blade, you’ll have to make a conscious decision to tell yourself, I know God loves me. As corny as that is, even if you don’t feel it, even if you don’t want to believe it’s true, even if every ounce of you is pushing it away, please see yourself as God sees you. Just a glimpse, You are loved, God wants for you, you are His child … you are better than all this, you are made for more, and you can set that thing down and walk away.

— J.S. from What the Church Won’t Talk About