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Chapter 18

1Just at that time the disciples came up and asked Jesus,

“Who is really greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”

2He called a child to him and had him stand among them, 3and he said,

“I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven at all. 4Anyone, therefore, who is as unassuming as this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, 5and anyone who welcomes one child like this on my account welcomes me. 6But whoever hinders one of these children who believe in me might better have a great millstone hung around his neck and be sunk in the open sea. 7Alas for the world for such hindrances! They have to come, but alas for the man who causes them!

8“But if your own hand or your own foot makes you fall, cut it off and throw it away. You might better enter upon life maimed or crippled than keep both hands and feet but be thrown into the everlasting fire. 9And if your own eye makes you fall, dig it out and throw it away. You might better enter upon life with only one eye than be thrown with both eyes into the fiery pit.

10“Beware of feeling scornful of one single little child, for I tell you that in heaven their angels have continual access to my Father in heaven. 12What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them strays away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills, and go in search of the one that is astray? 13And if he happens to find it, I tell you he rejoices more over it than he does over the ninety-nine that did not stray. 14In just that way, it is the will of my Father in heaven that not a single one of these children be lost.

15“But if your brother wrongs you go to him and show him his fault while you are alone with him. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother. 16But if he will not listen, take one or two others with you, so that everything may be supported by the testimony of two or three witnesses. 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell the congregation. And if he refuses to listen to it, treat him as a heathen or a tax-collector.

18“I tell you, whatever you forbid on earth will be held in heaven to be forbidden, and whatever you permit on earth will be held in heaven to be permitted. 19Again, I tell you, if even two of you here on earth agree about what they shall pray for, it will be given them by my Father in heaven. 20For wherever two or three are gathered as my followers, I am there among them.”

21Then Peter came to him and said,

“Master, how many times am I to forgive my brother when he wrongs me? Seven times over?”

22Jesus said to him,

“Not seven times over, I tell you, but seventy-seven times over! 23For this reason the Kingdom of Heaven may be compared to a king, who resolved to settle accounts with his slaves. 24And when he set about doing so, a man was brought in who owed him ten million dollars. 25And as he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all he had, in payment of the debt. 26So the slave threw himself down before him and implored him, ‘Give me time, and I will pay you all of it.’ 27And his master’s heart was touched, and he let the slave go and canceled the debt. 28But when the slave went out he met a fellow-slave of his who owed him twenty dollars, and he caught him by the throat and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ 29So his fellow-slave threw himself down before him, and begged him, ‘Give me time, and I will pay you.’ 30But he refused and went and had him put in prison until he should pay the debt. 31When his fellow-slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went to their master and reported the whole matter to him. 32Then his master called him in and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I canceled all that debt of yours when you entreated me. 33Ought you not to have taken pity on your fellow-slave, as I did on you?’ 34So his master in his anger handed him over to the jailers, until he should pay all he owed him. 35That is what my heavenly Father will do to you, if you do not each forgive your brothers from your hearts!”

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