Sticks and Stones
Remember the old saying; “sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me”?
And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Matthew 18:5-6
In this passage of scripture, Jesus is using “child” as a metaphor for those who believe in Him. He equates believers and followers to children in that He suggests they should come to Him with a childlike faith. He also says those who receive His followers should receive them as if they are receiving Him. And lastly, He warns that should His children/disciples be treated poorly, it will not go well for the one doing the mistreating.
I don’t think Jesus is saying those who mistreat His followers will be punished—certainly He isn’t saying they will be drowned, or in any ways killed—but rather, He is saying things probably won’t go smoothly for them.
Unfortunately, there are people who don’t believe in Jesus, and as a result they sometimes degrade and mistreat His followers. Jesus doesn’t like that very much, but He knows those folks will reap what they sow. As His followers, we should not allow the opinions and taunting of non-believers to discourage or distract us. The only opinion that should matter to you and I is His!