Matthew 18 (Common English Bible)

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Greatest in the kingdom

1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" 2 Then he called a little child over to sit among the disciples, 3 and said, “I assure you that if you don't turn your lives around and become like this little child, you will definitely not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Those who humble themselves like this little child will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

Falling into sin

6 “As for whoever causes these little ones who believe in me to trip and fall into sin, it would be better for them to have a huge stone hung around their necks and be drowned in the bottom of the lake. 7 How terrible it is for the world because of the things that cause people to trip and fall into sin! Such things have to happen, but how terrible it is for the person who causes those things to happen! 8 If your hand or your foot causes you to fall into sin, chop it off and throw it away. It's better to enter into life crippled or lame than to be thrown into the eternal fire with two hands or two feet. 9 If your eye causes you to fall into sin, tear it out and throw it away. It's better to enter into life with one eye than to be cast into a burning hell with two eyes.

Parable of the lost sheep

10 “Be careful that you don't look down on one of these little ones. I say to you that their angels in heaven are always looking into the face of my Father who is in heaven.a 12 What do you think? If someone had one hundred sheep and one of them wandered off, wouldn't he leave the ninety-nine on the hillsides and go in search for the one that wandered off? 13 If he finds it, I assure you that he is happier about having that one sheep than about the ninety-nine who didn't wander off. 14 In the same way, my Father who is in heaven doesn't want to lose one of these little ones.

Sinning brother or sister

15 "If your brother or sister sins against you, go and correct them when you are alone together. If they listen to you, then you've won over your brother or sister. 16 But if they won't listen, take with you one or two others so that every word may be established by the mouth of two or three witnesses.b 17 But if they still won't pay attention, report it to the church. If they won't pay attention even to the church, treat them as you would a Gentile and tax collector. 18 I assure you that whatever you fasten on earth will be fastened in heaven. And whatever you loosen on earth will be loosened in heaven. 19 Again I assure you that if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, then my Father who is in heaven will do it for you. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, I'm there with them."

Parable of the unforgiving servant

21 Then Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Should I forgive as many as seven times?" 22 Jesus said, “Not just seven times, but rather as many as seventy-seven times.c 23 Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle accounts, they brought to him a servant who owed him ten thousand bags of gold.d 25 Because the servant didn't have enough to pay it back, the master ordered that he should be sold, along with his wife and children and everything he had, and that the proceeds should be used as payment. 26 But the servant fell down, kneeled before him, and said, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I'll pay you back.' 27 The master had compassion on that servant, released him, and forgave the loan. 28 “When that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him one hundred coins.e He grabbed him around the throat and said, ‘Pay me back what you owe me.' 29 “Then his fellow servant fell down and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I'll pay you back.' 30 But he refused. Instead, he threw him into prison until he paid back his debt. 31 “When his fellow servants saw what happened, they were deeply offended. They came and told their master all that happened. 32 His master called the first servant and said, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you appealed to me. 33 Shouldn't you also have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?' 34 His master was furious and handed him over to the guard responsible for punishing prisoners, until he had paid the whole debt. 35 "My heavenly Father will also do the same to you if you don't forgive your brother or sister from your heart."
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