The term “assignment” is specific to a divine calling. God can call a person to a place, a people, or a thing. The assignment is considered a mission or position that you must fulfill as part of that calling. For example, if we consider standard biblical narratives, we can argue that Moses was assigned to the Children of Israel, but Aaron was assigned to Moses.
Jesus came to Earth to save and restore the sinner so that he or she may have eternal life. Prophets served as intermediaries between God and humanity; their purpose was to hear from God and deliver divine messages. Jesus called and gave authority to the Twelve Disciples to drive out impure spirits and heal every disease and sickness. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote the Gospels we read today.
Lastly, the Apostle Paul wrote the epistles that influence Christian theology and explore the divine relationship between God the Father and Jesus. Paul’s purpose, through revelation, was to preach that Jesus lived in heaven, that Jesus was the Messiah and God’s son, and that Jesus would soon return. The Apostle Paul was assigned to the Gentiles.
Each person in biblical history and narrative was assigned to a person, a place, to do a thing and fulfill a purpose, and to carry out their assignment by receiving divine revelation and instruction. There is a difference between God calling you and you calling yourself. Only with divine revelation and preparation, which will always include some form of testing and correction, can you fulfill the assignment God may be calling you to, especially if you are to resolve a generational problem.
However, it is possible to ignore, disregard, and/or abandon your assignment. In the Book of Jonah, Jonah runs from God’s mission, which required him to travel to Ninevah and proclaim the Word of God. Instead, because Jonah was displeased with God’s divine mercy on the heathen, he ran to Tarshish, ended up being kicked off a boat, fell into a whale, and was spit out three days later. In the Christian tradition, Jonah’s “process” was symbolic of Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection.
These concepts are not new, and many of us have read or listened to these biblical narratives while sitting in the church pews. They are merely a setup for understanding divine calling, assignment, purpose, and application of wisdom.
If you are not aware of your calling, gifts and talents, purpose, etc., it is important that you discover these areas of your life so that you do not live a lifetime knowing that you could have made a difference and contributed to the efficacy of someone’s life.
This discussion about assignment is important because you can be assigned to teach, to be a doctor, to be a lawyer, or to be anything that you feel you are intuitively and spiritually pulled towards.
The pull can be so strong that it is overwhelming because it is mixed with both excitement regarding the discovery and fear concerning your ability and capacity to carry out your part of the assignment.
You are not assigned to the whole world. You are only assigned to a specific purpose for a season. This means that you cannot get ahead of your season, and you cannot try to continue when your season is up.
Passing the Baton
Think about the track runner. The athlete prepares, manages his or her diet, listens to the coach, fails and succeeds, and then eventually competes on the track by running until he or she gets to the finish line. This is the general track running strategy.
However, in relay races where there are a set of runners running during a set of stages, the track athlete must pass the baton to the next person to compete in and complete the race. Passing the baton completes the race. Therefore, if you do not pass the baton, this will affect the other runners in the race and the overall sports competition objective.
Thus, you must know the limits of your assignment. This means that you must understand your assignment, the part you will play, the people you will affect, the thing you will do, and the season when your part will stop and move on to the next person assigned to solve the problem.
People who are assigned to a person, a people, a place, and/or a thing must understand that the purpose is to solve a problem and not create additional problems because of a lack of acknowledgment, validation, or unconditional support. When you are under assignment, you do not chart your own path, create your own road, or follow your own way.
There is already an established path God has set for you and the assignment, and He clears that path, creates the road, and directs you in the way. People go wrong when it comes to their assignment because they are trying to get somewhere before the time, they are trying to skip steps because the journey and preparation are too long, and they are trying to project onto the problem how it should be solved.
When you do this, you are suggesting that you do not really have a firm understanding of the problem and that you are going to work it out in your own understanding despite the failures and the need for correction waiting for you at the end of the road. This is what happens with people who try to change the dynamics of the assignment to fit whatever agenda they believe is better for the person, people, or thing.
Substituting your way for God’s way never ends well. You always end up going down the wrong path, and you never know what is down the path whether there is danger or success. Regardless, when we decide to do anything but what God and the assignment requires, we never fare well.
This article is about the ways in which we use substitution while under assignment. It focuses on how we do not fully understand the assignment and how our lack of understanding affects how the assignment is carried out. It centers on this idea that people believe one solution is better than the standard, even if the proposed alternative might be unethical, immoral, and downright dangerous.
The assignment is not just limited to the Christian tradition. It includes secular considerations and references certain types of people who compromise their positions of authority. This article explores two popular categories to consider when you are confronted with accepting your assignment and sustaining the work to completion.
Not understanding the direct role you must fulfill and how to maintain the assignment will affect how people view it, learn from it, and further it in their own lives. Substitution always leads to compromise, and compromise is the basis for sleeping with the assignment.
Lately, there have been rep0rts of teachers sleeping with students, especially female teachers who have come to light. The teacher, whether male or female, operates in a unique space. The teacher both teaches and prepares. The teacher identifies certain problems that might be plaguing the student, i.e., struggles with understanding the material, preparing, and applying knowledge.
When there is a gap in the student’s thinking, the teacher reassesses instructional strategies and seeks to close that gap by providing feedback. Then the teacher assesses again the student’s thinking, reasoning, and applying to determine if that gap has been closed and how to move the student forward. The teacher has solved both the instructional and student learning gaps when the student demonstrates understanding on subsequent assignments.
However, instructional and learning strategies are interrupted when an alternative solution is considered. For example, when the teacher sleeps with the student, this becomes a different lesson the student is required to learn. There are no requirements within the existing curriculum that permits teachers to sleep with students.
There is nothing in the federal, state, and local manuals and guidance that provides legal cover for teachers who sleep with students. The teacher was never prepared through education and learning and applying knowledge as a graduate student that teachers get to sleep with students as a rule, nor as an exception.
Somehow, the teacher, who has been trained to be an educator, has allowed for the mindset that sleeping with a student is okay and that it is necessary as a solution. Never mind that the teacher who sleeps with the student is not solving a learning problem, or an understanding problem, or an applying problem.
The teacher is solving a personal, emotional, internal problem specific only to the teacher, and he or she believes that sleeping with the student will solve her immediate sexual problem. She substitutes a problem that is outside of the immediate classroom for a problem that is inside the classroom.
The student is not crying out for sex! The student is not asking to learn sex. Don’t confuse biology and puberty-based issues for someone saying to the teacher, “I need you to give me sex.” That’s not what the role of the teacher is, and the student is not forcing himself or herself onto the teacher.
Somewhere the teacher is disgruntled with her life. She is not happy at home or with her chosen career. The person does not feel satisfied in other areas outside of the classroom. To resolve issues with personal dissatisfaction and frustration, the teacher clings onto the student, expecting the student to resolve her personal issues.
However, the student is not equipped to solve adult problems in the area of sex! The student does not have the full emotional, psychological, mental, and sexual capacity to understand such ideas. The student only understands student-based, intellectual and academic issues that are specific to his or her grade level, knowledge, and skill capacity.
How can a student who barely completes his or her chores at home also possess the capacity to reconcile adult thinking surrounding sex in the classroom? To answer this question is to suggest that not only does the teacher rape the student’s physical body, but also rapes the student’s learning process and progress, the student’s ability to recognize and solve problems, and the student’s capacity to sustain the understanding necessary to transfer skills to the next grade level and outside of the immediate classroom.
The student graduates with a distorted view of how to solve problems because the learning problem is substituted with sex. Thus, the student does not learn what he or she needs to learn as a student. Instead, the student learns how to place sex as a higher priority over any problem he or she needs to solve. The student ultimately uses sex to solve problems. The teacher leaves a student without an ability to build and sustain capacity for academic learning because that process is interrupted and substituted for another type of learning process.
The latest issue we have had with a correctional officer is the one in which former corrections officer, Vicki White, who was set for retirement, helped an Alabama corrections inmate, Casey White, escape using a mental health evaluation schedule as cover. I do not want to get too deep into the narrative, but here is a sample news link that you can read to gain insight. They were later caught in Indiana, she committed suicide, and he was returned to prison. Vicki White was 56 when she died.
The interesting aspect about being a corrections officer is that you are monitoring and guarding people who are being corrected for criminal issues. You receive training on how to monitor and guard. You read textbooks and theories and learn how to apply that information within the corrections environment.
You must be cognizant of inmates who may desire to con you, attack you, and/or maybe kill you. You have to adhere to policies, abide by state and federal laws, and resolve local and in-house problems when they are immediate, short-term, and long-term. You are prepared well to perform the job.
It takes extraordinary mental capacity to stand before people who are in jail and behind bars, who need to talk, who need to vent, who need to lie to reach that internal rise, and who need to murder because that, too, gives the person the dopamine he or she needs to do the time. You are standing before people who are doing time while you are clocked in under time. For the criminal and the guard, all you have is time.
In considering the discussion on time, this begs the following question: Since the corrections officer is confronted on a daily basis with the criminal’s struggle with time, why would the corrections officer desire to switch places with the criminal and be subject to the same time? If you put the question to the individual in this way, it would seem that the corrections officer would not even consider the possibility of trading places.
Both people are trading time, i.e., one person who committed a crime is trading life for time and one individual who works to guard criminals is trading life for money. One is getting paid, and one is not.
Then if the corrections officer is blinded to the idea of becoming the same criminal he or she is guarding, then this further suggests that the corrections officer does not respect the law in the same way the convicted criminal does not respect the law. They both have a problem with the law, the dictates of the law, the management of the law, the furthering of the law, and the validation to the law. The law is validated when it convicts the criminal of his or her misdeeds.
When the corrections officer helps the criminal, he or she is arguing against the validation of the law that convicted the criminal and is further suggesting that the law should not apply to the criminal. It has the same sentiment as “How could they do you like this? You didn’t do anything wrong. I’m here to help you.” The emotions form and support the belief system.
However, these are two different belief systems because one is clearly representative of federal and state legislature, codified, and appropriate, and one is individual, personal, and based on a biased belief system. In other words, the corrections officer is not the law, but he or she has substituted individual beliefs for existing law.
The only way to resolve the convicted criminal’s issue, if the corrections officer believes that the person has been wrongly imprisoned, is to fight the existing law, speak to legislators, and develop a better plan to reconcile the application of the law.
The equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not require equality, per se, but it does require equal application of the law, i.e., equal protection. When there is a problem with the law, there are legal steps to repair the breach.
The corrections officer, who represents an extension of the law, is not the law. The individual cannot substitute as law. The individual can be arrested according to the law when he or she breaks the law. The corrections officer is blind to this ideal and relies solely on emotion to fuel a decision to break the law.
Therefore, the daily goal of monitoring and guarding the convicted criminal is substituted for the goal of monitoring and guarding the belief that the corrections officer and the convicted criminal are right, and the law is wrong. They both have reached consensus, or agreement, about disobeying the law.
At the end of the day when you sleep with the assignment, you do not agree with the requirements of the assignment. You believe that it does not have the merit you think it should have and that “your way” of handling and solving the problem is the better way. In other words, you believe your answer to the problem has merit.
Disagreeing with the assignment is an example of emotional running from something that you may have fear about and that you may not fully want to commit to because of other factors. This is why it is important to get a good understanding of the assignment, so you do not compromise your preparation, God’s instruction, and the person, people, or thing to whom and for which you are assigned.
You cannot simply do what you want. If we return to the Moses and Children of Israel example, if Moses did anything but what God told him to do, he would endanger the people he was leading. Moses had to listen to God in his dealings with Pharoah. There was a season of deliverance, and this required listening, coordinating, and walking out the plan that God had for the people to leave their bondage and enter the Promised Land.
What Moses received and applied in terms of divine instruction, his brother Aaron had to receive and apply and follow instruction. Instruction is measured by completion of steps and standards and rules and direction. You know you have completed the task based on the instruction you adhered to and followed accurately and appropriately.
If we put this in simple terms, if the math teacher tells you to show all your work on a math test, and you decide to write the answer, then that is not following instruction accurately and appropriately. The goal is to “show all your work,” and the teacher can only measure your understanding by the instructions you follow.
Likewise, there are existing rules, guidelines, policies, and laws on the books for how you should carry out a task to which you have been assigned and the path and road to finishing and completing that task based on instruction. When you run into a problem, there is a system in place to help you resolve that issue.
Designing your own system within an established system, especially if your system goes against the existing hierarchical structure, is to sleep with or compromise the assignment. In literal terms, as referenced within this article, you can compromise the assignment by actually sleeping with the people to whom you are assigned.
Compromising the assignment never works, and it never fares well in the end. Vicky White, the former corrections officer who helped the inmate escape, died essentially a failure because before the problem got to the point that she needed to help her lover escape, there were many more instances and warnings prior to that final decision. If Vicky White was struggling with love for an inmate, which is a problem that is counter to the goal of monitoring and guarding the inmate, then there were policies in place to counter any future decision.
There is always a way out of temptation to do wrong. She could have taken a leave of absence. She could have spoken with a supervisor to change shifts and assignment to that inmate. There were many more options than breaking the law and helping someone else break the law.
The man was in a corrections facility for breaking the law. To help him escape is to suggest that whatever he did to get into prison is mute compared to what she believes she needs to do for him now to get him out of prison. In other words, Vicky was trying to wipe the criminal slate clean. “He didn’t do what you said, and I’m going to make sure you all know it.” But she died not fulfilling her original assignment.
Therefore, be sure you know and understand your assignment. If you are on a job, and you are assigned to do a specific task, be sure to know the dynamics and boundaries of that task and complete the task based on the given guidelines for how to ensure the job is done according to standard. You can fail at your assignment. You can do something that makes you unqualified to continue with the assignment. Breaking the law is one example of becoming unqualified for the assignment. Getting fired from a job is another example.
God told Moses to speak to the rock, but Moses ending up hitting the rock, which made it impossible for him to enter the Promised Land. Exploring biblical interpretations of Moses, the rock, and the Promised Land are beyond the scope of this article, but it speaks to the idea that you can do well with the assignment and get to the end and not be able to reap fully the benefits because of one decision to adopt an alternative path.
Do not sleep with the assignment. In other words, do not compromise who and what God has assigned you to do. If you do not believe in God, then do not compromise where you are assigned today, as in the job you are working, the business you are running, and the family you are managing.
Thank you for reading.
Regina Y. Favors, Owner/Operator
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