Matthew 18:1-7, 10-14

18:1 In that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”

18:2 Jesus called a little child to himself, and set him in their midst, 18:3 and said, “Most certainly I tell you, unless you turn, and become as little children, you will in no way enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. 18:4 Whoever therefore humbles himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. 18:5 Whoever receives one such little child in my name receives me, 18:6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him that a huge millstone should be hung around his neck, and that he should be sunk in the depths of the sea. 18:7 “Woe to the world because of occasions of stumbling! For it must be that the occasions come, but woe to that person through whom the occasion comes!

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18:10 See that you don’t despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. 18:11 For the Son of Man came to save that which was lost.

18:12 “What do you think? If a man has one hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine, go to the mountains, and seek that which has gone astray? 18:13 If he finds it, most certainly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. 18:14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

(WEB)

As if there are levels of Goodness. The first might be to refrain from sinful behaviour, to obey the law. The second might come when sin is no longer tempting. One might call this level chastity or moral purity. The subject’s free desires do not point in the direction of sin. A higher level might come when sin is no longer perceived as such, but as illness or confusion. One might call this level innocence. Innocence is certainly lost as part of growing up, but I think innocence can be regained.

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