Have you ever played the game "Follow the Leader?"
I have to admit that I wasn't very good at it. Any time the leader did something that needed speed or balance, I usually couldn't do it.
Jesus was talking about another kind of "Follow the Leader" in our story for today. Like the game, the people were following him were supposed to do what he did and, like the game, Jesus said it was going to be hard. Only it wasn't hard because Jesus was going to do weird stuff that needed speed or balance. He said it was because, when you did what he was doing, loving everyone, even the one's people thought you weren't supposed to even like, other people would call you names, say all kinds of mean things about you, and maybe even try to hurt you.
I know that sounds odd, but some people get really worked up when other folks do things they don't expect and don't like. Sometimes they do try to hurt them. Sometimes they just say mean things about them. Jesus was warning his followers that they'd have to expect that and that they'd have to take it.
So, just keep in mind that some folks will probably say and do some mean things to you if you follow Jesus. On the other hand, telling people that God loves them and everybody is worth it.
Let's pray about that.
God, we don't like it when people say mean things about us, but help us to remember when they do that because we follow Jesus that it's because we're doing things that are right and good to do. We may never understand why some people don't like that, but help us to respond to them with love, just like we should to everyone else. Help us to be loving even when others aren't.