God created three realms of authority: the family, the church, and civil government. They each have a role.

The family doesn’t do the same work as the church, the church can’t do the same work as the family, and the government can’t do the work of the church.

As with everything the Lord establishes, there’s a really good reason for this.

The work of the family, the work of the church, are supposed to be marked by certain characteristics—compassion, kindness, mercy, love.

Christians know this but then often can’t distinguish between roles, leading them to believe that, as Christians, we should support anything the government would do that might resemble compassion, love, mercy, etc.

This isn’t the case, though, as it wasn’t the purpose for which God created civil government. (See Romans 13)

God specifically created the government to be an entity of force—force needed to protect the innocent by punishing the evil-doer. That’s the scope of its purpose.

I’ve often told my government students that it’s important to remember that government is an entity of force. It cannot be anything else. Anything it does that might sound compassionate, by nature, will still result in force.

This is why it’s actually not compassionate for government to act outside its God-given scope.

While some program may sound compassionate, it will always end up harming someone.

Leave the compassion and love to the church, to individuals, and to families. That’s where God intended it to originate.

This is a commentary published with the author’s permission. If you wish to submit a commentary to Texas Scorecard, please submit your article to submission@texasscorecard.com.

Hannah Williams

Hannah started working in the Texas Legislature at the age of 15. She's now a stay-at-home mom but still enjoys teaching high school students and writing about current issues through the lens of the constitutional role of government.