Matthew 18

1At that time the followers came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2Jesus called a little child to come to him. Jesus stood the child before the followers. 3Then Jesus said, “I tell you the truth. You must change and become like little children ˻in your hearts˼. If you don’t do this, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4The greatest ˻(most important)˼ person in the kingdom of heaven is the person that makes himself humble like this child. 5”If a person accepts a little child like this in my name, then that person accepts me. 6”If one of these little children believes in me, and another person causes that child to sin, then it will be very bad for that person. It would be better for that person to have a millstone tied around his neck and be drowned in the deep sea. 7I feel sorry for the people in the world because of the things that make people sin. Those things must happen. But it will be very bad for the person that causes those things to happen. 8”If your hand or your foot makes you sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose part of your body but have life forever. That is much better than to have two hands and two feet but be thrown into the fire ˻(hell)˼ that burns forever. 9If your eye makes you sin, take it out and throw it away. It is better for you to have only one eye but have life forever. That is much better than to have two eyes but be thrown into the fire of hell. 10”Be careful. Don’t think these little children are worth nothing. I tell you that these children have angels in heaven. And those angels are always with my Father in heaven. 12”If a man has 100 sheep, but one of the sheep becomes lost, then the man will leave the other 99 sheep on the hill. He will go to look for the lost sheep. Right? 13And if the man finds the lost sheep, the man is happier about that one sheep than about the 99 sheep that were never lost. I tell you the truth. 14In the same way, your Father in heaven does not want any of these little children to be lost. 15”If your brother or sister does something wrong to you, go and tell that person what he did wrong. Do this alone with that person. If that person listens to you, then you have helped that person to be your brother again. 16But if that person refuses to listen, then go to him again and bring one or two people with you. Then there will be two or three other people that will be able to tell all that happened. 17If that person refuses to listen to them, then tell the church ˻(group of believers)˼. If that person refuses to listen to the church, then treat him like he is a person that does not believe in God. Treat him like he is a tax collector. 18”I tell you the truth. When you speak judgment here on earth, that judgment will be God’s judgment. When you promise forgiveness here on earth, that forgiveness will be God’s forgiveness. 19”Also, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about something, then you can pray for it. And the thing you ask for will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20This is true, because if two or three people are together believing in me, I am there with them.” 21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, when my brother won’t stop doing wrong to me, how many times must I forgive him? Should I forgive him as many as seven times?” 22Jesus answered, “I tell you, you must forgive him more than seven times. You must continue to forgive him even if he does wrong to you seventy-seven times.” 23”So the kingdom of heaven is like a king that decided to collect the money that his servants owed him. 24The king began to collect his money. One servant owed the king several thousand pounds of silver. 25The servant was not able to pay the money to his master, the king. So the master ordered that everything the servant owned should be sold, even the servant’s wife and children. The money would be used to pay the king what the servant owed. 26”But the servant fell on his knees and begged, 'Be patient with me. I will pay you everything I owe.’ 27The master felt sorry for his servant. So the master told the servant he did not have to pay. The master let the servant go free. 28”Later, that same servant found another servant that owed him a few dollars’ worth of silver. The servant grabbed the other servant around the neck and said, 'Pay me the money you owe me!’ 29”The other servant fell on his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me. I will pay you everything I owe.’ 30”But the first servant refused to be patient. The servant told the judge that the other servant owed him money, and the other servant was thrown into prison. The servant had to stay in prison until he could pay everything he owed. 31All the other servants saw what happened. They felt very sorry for the man. So they went and told their master everything that happened. 32”Then the master called his servant in and said, 'You evil servant. You owed me much money, but you begged me to forgive your debt. So I told you that you did not have to pay anything. 33So you should have given the same mercy to that other man that is a servant with you. You should have given him the same mercy that I gave you.’ 34The master was very angry, so he put the servant in prison to be punished. And the servant had to stay in prison until he could pay everything he owed. 35”This king did the same as my heavenly Father will do to you. You must truly forgive your brother or sister, or my heavenly Father will not forgive you.”

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