What Do You Do When You’re Offended…while on a Mission Trip?
Colossians 3:23 – “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men…”
It is so important to guard yourself against offense. Whether you take offense or you cause offense, it is something that can easily happen. How do you handle it? It is hard enough dealing with an offense when you are on familiar territory, but how do you handle offense if it takes place on the mission field?
What are you to do with the spirit of offense when you are on a Mission trip?
Realistically, anytime you are with people, the occasion for offense can easily arise. Most of the time it’s unintentional. In situations where people get tired, weary, a little edgy, things can be said, done or taken the wrong way.
Even though you try to stay prayed up and in the best of spirits, offense can sometimes still happen.
When offense occurs it can cause hurt, anger, annoyance or frustration. Whatever it is that happened or said is taken in a personal or negative way. One reason offense is hard to deal with is that the offense taken usually is felt only by the one offended. Not handled properly, offenses can lead to further hurt or disruption in relationships. On the mission field, there is no room for offense.
In reading a devotional article written by Charles Stanley, titled “Serve with Humility,” two phrases jumped out:
- “There is no room for self-seeking or self-promotion; our only concern should be obedience, with the aim that God alone gets the glory.”
- “We must serve God with humility of mind.”
He was writing on the subject of a servant’s heart in God’s Kingdom. The ultimate goal is that whatever we do and the attitude we do it in that God gets the glory.
What valuable statements to guide our thoughts and actions. Yet, when we are faced with a situation or circumstance that has the residue of negative feelings from an offense, we need a way to speedily and successfully resolve the conflict from within and from without.
Here are several suggestions of what to do when you are away on a mission trip and you become offended.
- Remember why you are there– revisit your heart goals; think about the people you are serving; put their needs and the tasks at hand, above your own. Be motivated by the love and service for people.
- Pray about it– talk to God about what took place. Ask for His divine intervention into the situation. Ask for wisdom and understanding of what really took place. Be honest and transparent with God, after all, He already knows and sees all things. Be open to what He places on your heart. Don’t resist where He may lead you.
- Surrender your thoughts and emotions to God – everything that is in your heart, mind and emotions give it over to God. Literally, tell Him to take them. Meditate on what you know is right.
- Look at what is going on with the other person – consider all that may have been involved or what was said. Examine your heart, show grace and remain true to what is acceptable and pleasing to God.
- Talk about it– after reflective action on your part, if there is still aggravation, bitterness, hurt, anger or resentment on any level speak to the person or to a team leader; not in a confrontational way, but in a way that pursues peace and resolution.
Working together is beneficial for the group as a whole and blessing to the goal of the mission. When conflict or discrepancies arise at any level great or small it tears down and destroys the strength of unity. Trust, communication, flow and interaction are disturbed and disrupted. Peace is no longer the main attribute among the team. Offense is one of the many weapons the enemy uses against people at home and abroad. He doesn’t care when or where. He just works to launch an attack against anything good.
The last suggestion to go along with the list above is the hardest, but the most necessary one and that is to…
- Get rid of it and let it go!! As hard as it may be, we have to rise above the situation and not allow destruction to characterize our time, interaction and service. Make the decision to release and not replay; to forgive and move on; to practice grace and mercy. Remembering and being encouraged by the fact that God continually extends to us the same.
A powerful truth to assist in this area comes from the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.
- “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh; for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (KJV)
The New English Translation Bible puts it “For though we live as human beings, we do not wage war according to human standards, for the weapons of our warfare are not human weapons, but are made powerful by God for tearing down strongholds. We tear down arguments and every arrogant obstacle that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obey Christ.”
Prayerfully, you won’t ever have to deal with negative actions, words or behaviors from those you are connected with on your mission trip. Yet, we know life is just not perfect. If offense should happen, take steps immediately to rid yourself of it. If you can’t get rid of it on your own, prayerfully seek the assistance of another.
Whatever you do, don’t allow the spirit of offense to overtake you.