42. Whoever hurts one of these little ones…or abuses them in any way…or takes advantage of their simple trust…or causes them to grow up to be less than what they should have been…it would actually be better for that person to have one of those huge grinding-stones that they use in the mills fastened around his or her neck, and to be sunk in the depth of the sea.
43. Let Me clarify this...your desire to be a good example before the young should be such that if, say, your hand causes you to stumble and sin, you would be willing to just cut it off and throw it away. It would, in fact, be better for you to go through life maimed than to have two hands, and your very existence become so worthless that you end up being thrown into the fires at the Gehenna garbage dump outside Jerusalem which never go out.
44. (Verse 44 does not exist in any original manuscripts.)
45. By the same token, if somehow your foot is a cause of stumbling and sin to you, you should also be willing to cut it off, as well! Again, it would, in fact, be better for you to go through life lame, than to have two feet, and your very existence become so worthless that you end up being thrown into the fires at the Gehenna garbage dump outside Jerusalem.
46. (Verse 46 does not exist in any original manuscripts.)
47. In the same way, if your eye causes you to compromise your good example before one of these little ones, be willing to pluck it out! It is more advantageous for you to enter the Kingdom of God with one eye, than to go through life with two eyes and end up being thrown onto the garbage dump,
48. That horrible, maggot-infested place where dismembered limbs and cadavers are discarded and burned, constantly.
49. The reason I'm making this point using such extreme, conceptual language is that I want you to realize that everyone must take responsibility for their own lives, and for the example they set...but, one way or another, everyone is going to go through a refining fire...sooner or later every person will be tried by the flames...if not in Gehenna, then by the trials of life...but when you pass through the fire, you ultimately will be preserved.
50. Salt is a good preservative, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, it is worthless...how can it be restored? So have salt within yourselves...by that I mean, what you need to preserve you in the fire is already within you...you just have to locate it. And those who have passed through the fire will ultimately be at peace and live in harmony with one another...their inner preservative will enable them to preserve the peace."
*The pic at the top is Gehenna (The Valley of Hinnom), right outside of Jerusalem, as it looks today. We were there last summer...ate in a restaurant that overlooks it...as you can see, it isn't burning any more...but the truth of the metaphor that Jesus used is a now word...the good news is that when you are tried in the fire, you will come forth as pure gold!