The difference between accusing and rebuking is…

Intended outcome. The difference between accusing and rebuking is the desired outcome.
A rebuke is a form of love. It’s really an appeal. It’s an appeal to stop, repent and renew ones commitment. Sometimes it’s an appeal to have a soft heart and admit wrong-doing in the first place. But in all those scenarios, a rebuke is aimed at a certain outcome, by the grace of God.
As such, a rebuke doesn’t carry a condemnation in itself. It may outline a future consequence (“if this doesn’t stop we will need to take these steps”). Rather, it is an appeal to see and change one’s sin with an offer of forgiveness.
On the other hand, an accusation is what satan does. An accusation is not an appeal to someone to change, but a verdict that change is not enough, and forgiveness is out of reach. It doesn’t look to a renewed commitment, but looks to incite guilt and self-loathing. An accusation is a declaration of condemnation.
However, because the difference is a “desired outcome”, that means someone who is unwilling to repent as desired will only hear a loving rebuke as an accusation. They can’t get past the first part of the rebuke… The idea they did something that needs to change.

There’s only 4 conversation types

If you’re going to sit someone down and chat about their sin, there’s only a few conversations there…

  1. Do you think you’ve sinned?
  2. Are to going to stop doing this sin?
  3. How are you going TO stop doing this sin?
  4. How are you going AT stopping this sin?

And here’s the key… You need to have them in that order.
Asking someone if they’re going to stop doing something which they DON’T believe is sin… That’s not a good conversation. Or even asking them if they intend to stop… If they haven’t verbalised that they’ve sinned… Ouch!
If we understand that sin is aggressive and it manipulates our thinking and feelings in ways we don’t even know, then we shouldn’t be surprised when we find people who can’t see their sin, don’t want to change, don’t make plans to change, and even after all that, don’t execute those plans.
The should be easy questions, but I guarantee these are the conversations you’ll come back to.