Chapter 18

At that time, Jesus’ disciples came to him and asked, “Who’s greater in Heaven’s Empire?” 2Jesus called a small child over to him, put him in the middle of them, 3and said, “Yes, I tell y’all, unless y’all change and be like children, y’all won’t get into Heaven’s Empire. 4Whoever humbles himself like this small child is greatest in Heaven’s Empire. 5And whoever welcomes such a child in my name, welcomes me. 6Whoever gets in the way of one of these small children who believe in me, it would be better for him if a donkey’s millstone was hung around his neck and he drowned in the open sea.

7“Damn the world for getting in the way! Something always gets in the way, but damn the man that puts things in the way!

8“If your hand or foot gets in your way, cut it off and throw it away. It’s better for you to go through life crippled or lame than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into the eternal fire. 9If your eye gets in your way, pluck it out and throw it away. It’s better for you to go through life with one eye than have two eyes and be thrown into hell fire.

10“Make sure y’all don’t despise these little ones. I tell y’all that their angels in heaven always see my Heavenly Father’s face. 11The Son of Man came to save what’s been lost. 12What do y’all think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them gets lost, wouldn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go out and find the lost one? 13And if he finds it, yes I tell y’all, he’ll celebrate for it more than for the other ninety-nine that didn’t get lost. 14Just like this, your Heavenly Father doesn’t want one of these little ones to die.

15“If your brother sins against you, go off, just the two of you alone, and correct him. If he hears you, you’ve won back your brother. 16If he doesn’t listen to you, bring along another, or two, so that by the testimony of two or three every fact might be confirmed. 17If he doesn’t listen to them, then tell it to the church. If he doesn’t listen to the church, then he’ll be like a Gentile or tax man to you. 18Yes I tell y’all, whatever y’all bind on the earth will be bound in Heaven. And whatever y’all untie on earth will be untied in Heaven. 19Yes, I tell y’all again. If two of y’all agree on earth about anything they ask, my Heavenly Father will do it for them. 20Whenever two or more come together in my name, I’m with them."

21Then Peter came to him and said, “Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother for sinning against me? Seven times?” 22Jesus said to him, “I say to you, not just seven times, but seventy times seven.

23“So, just like this, Heaven’s Empire can be compared to a king who wanted to settle accounts with his slaves. 24When he began, a slave that owed him ten thousand dollars was brought to him. 25Since he didn’t have the money to repay, the king commanded that he, his wife, his children, and everything he has be sold to repay the debt. 26The slave fell down and worshiped him, ‘Be patient with me, and I’ll give you back everything I owe!’ 27The king felt compassion for the slave and forgave his debt. 28When he left, the slave found a fellow slave who owed him a hundred dollars. He grabbed him and choked him, and said, ‘Give back what you owe!’ 29The other slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Be patient with me, and I’ll pay you back everything I owe!’ 30But that wasn’t good enough, so the slave had his fellow slave thrown into prison until he paid back everything he owed. 31When the other slaves saw what happened the became very sad and went and told their king what happened. 32The king called his slave and said, ‘You evil slave! I forgave you all your debts because you begged me. 33Shouldn’t you also have mercy on your fellow slaves, just as I had mercy on you?’ 34The king became angry with him and handed him over to the torturers until he paid back everything he owed. 35My Heavenly Father will do the same to y’all unless y’all forgive your brother from your heart.

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