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There are interpretation issues due to translating from one language to another. For example there are four Greek words to describe the affections of relationships, where in English we just have love to describe our affections in relationships. Another example is the English word judgment used in the Bible. We read the word judgment and usually associate that with some sort of condemnation or punishment. However, the Greek word translated into our English for judgment simply means a decision. It can be a decision (judgment) to bless someone. It can be a decision (Judgment) to act justly. It can be a decision (Judgment) of accusation, and it can be a decision (judgment) to condemn. What is interesting is how different cultures translate the Greek word for judgment.

If you are a Christian in eastern cultures you are less likely to see the word judgment as condemnation or punishment, especially when it comes to God. They believe God is a restorative God who restores the person while judging the sin. Their idea of judging sin is that God’s restorative acts are to separate us from that which causes us to fall short of His glorious design for our lives which is sin. Therefore, our loving God judges/condemns the sin, freeing us from sin and restoring us to previous glory.

Christians in the west tend to see God as punitive and are more likely to associate judgment to condemnation and punishment to the sinner. They see God as restorative, but it is conditional restoration. God will restore us and forgive us if we will repent and turn from sin. While I’m not dismissing this idea completely, I do believe our approach to introducing the unchurched to the Gospel lack the loving attractive message the Eastern Church has.

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