"... With that said, I do think you could've made your point without feeling like we were being told 'this is all the ways in which you're falling short.' We can always improve and it's always good to look at areas we need to address, but as the verse says 'rebuke in love'."
I have always had the hardest time with this. I have these two things inside of me that are a bit lethal together: on the one hand, I like to talk. My friend was always telling me to "shut up and sing" when I was the worship leader for our campus fellowship, because inevitably, I'd try to preach about something - it's a cruel irony to put a guy who likes to talk up in front of people with a microphone and then tell him not to (worship leaders are not supposed to talk, they are supposed to lead singing). On the other hand, I like to be right - as in correct. I especially like to be proven right. Together, they tend to get me in trouble.
What usually gets me in trouble is when I want to talk about why I'm right. And God gave me a bit of a brain, so I can usually make it at least sound like I'm right about whatever it is we're talking about (fortunately, God gave me a wife who sees right through it, every time). Sometimes I might even be right. But it seems like it usually ends up hurting somebody. The number of times that somebody has told me "ya could've been a little nicer about it" is a bit too high for me to feel comfortable about it anymore.
The funny thing is, I hate confrontation, which is like pouring lemon juice on somebody's freshly skinned body - it burns like nothing else. Not only do I tell them I'm right, but I duck and cover before they can tell me that I've hurt them. And so I add insult to injury.
The worst part is, the people who tell me that I should've been nicer are the people who always say it in a way that I was so glad that I was mean to them and want to be mean again, just in hopes that they'll tell me as nicely again. It's a problem. This is not to say to those people to stop being nice, by the way - the gift of mercy on someone as clueless as me is a true gift from God.
I'm not sure what to do anymore. I wish that I could learn to shut up and listen more often, and to ask the right questions and have the patience to guide people to a viewpoint that I know has been placed in my mind by God. As the song goes, "are you adding to the noise? Turn off this song!" Telling the hard stuff and being nice about it is a gift I want to learn; God's put enough people in my life who know how to do it well. Hopefully it'll sink in soon.