The Golden Rule Of Validation. Remember this if someone complains about you.
"And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise." Luke 6:31
Everyone wants to be treated fairly right? Everyone needs to have that sense of belonging. We all want to be treated with compassion and made to feel like we have value. We also want to be able to approach someone when there's a problem so we can solve it together.
"Haters gonna hate..."
Is what the arrogant world likes to say when anyone has a problem with them. While it's true that you can't please everyone and to try to will just make everyone mad at you, it doesn't mean we need to just brush off anything negative we hear. Sometimes there's a real problem and it will only be dealt with if someone has the courage to speak up. In response to such a situation, people will generally deal with it in one of two ways:
Ignore it, shrug their shoulders at it and pretend nothing's wrong.
Smash any and all opposition with EXTREME PREJUDICE!!!
While there are some cases where either approach might be necessary, neither one should be treated as a "One approach suits all" tool. There is another way to handle a complaint against you that will initiate more open dialogue between you and the accuser. Because people need to feel like they matter, make sure you show that person that they matter. Not only to Christ, but to you as well. People need validation, plain and simple.
Let's say you're a preacher. You preach a sermon and someone gets upset by it. They confront you soon after and talk to you about all they do in church. They accuse you of making them feel like they're wasting their time at church.
Now, do you need to move in a strike with EXTREME PREJUDICE? Do you need to confront these people in front of the church and rebuke them for "going against the Holy Spirit?"
If you bring in the SWAT team on them it makes for a tense atmosphere in the church afterward. Christians need to be able to approach each other without getting mauled in response. Because of this I have to remind some of my ministry teammates that they need to allow people to disagree with me every once in a while. I know it's to protect me, but I want to show the world that there's a better way to handle a complaint.
Perhaps you should have passed over them and from now on look the other way whenever they enter the church building?
If you ignore someone, it makes for a bitter atmosphere in the church afterward. We need to feel like we can be heard if there's a problem. Ignoring isn't always intentional though, but it's just as harmful. There's a church I left 2 years ago that probably still thinks I go there because that's how well they ignored me. I have since healed from that, but it took a long time for that bitterness to dissipate.
So what is this better way I keep carrying on about anyway?
Remember, let love do the talking. Start by listening to everything they have to say, this will build trust with them. A lot of times, people are just looking to make sure they matter to someone and open ears are hard to come by. If you listen to them without interruption and make them feel like they have a reason to feel upset, walls and barriers will start to crumble.
Granted, this reason may be the result of a misunderstanding, but let them feel like they would have been right to feel that way hypothetically. For example, "Oh, that's not what happened. But if it did, you would have every right to feel that way." As a result, people will feel like they were right somehow, they'll start feeling like they matter to someone, and most importantly, they're likely to stop complaining about you.
In conclusion, take people's feelings into consideration before handing out punishment because they may just want to feel like they matter. The truth is, they do matter. God created that person in His image with a purpose in mind. If God thinks they matter, then they should really matter to us.
"Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one." Colossians 4:6