When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” Peter answered, “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin. Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.” After they had further proclaimed the word of the Lord and testified about Jesus, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many Samaritan villages. (Acts 8:18-25)
I was a believer when I got divorced. A victim of mental abuse, I couldn’t stand my situation any longer. But two of my Baptist friends were adamant that God wouldn’t forgive me. One was a family friend and the other was my maid of honor. Not long after my divorce, they both unfriended me. I was devastated.
Many commentators wrote that Simon the Sorcerer wasn’t saved even though Scripture tells us Simon became a believer. Unfortunately, like my ex-friends, those commentators and Peter didn’t see the imperfectness in themselves, only in Simon. Instead of helping Simon, Peter lost his temper and removed Simon from the church. “May your money perish with you!” wasn’t what Jesus would’ve said. Peter told Simon if he repented, he could only hope that God would redeem him. Peter’s statement wasn’t true. “God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.” (Romans 11:32) Peter’s comments caused Simon to lose faith in God and believe he was unworthy to pray for himself. Simon most likely backslid and may have wasted his life.
When we closely examine our own lives, we should realize Simon will be with us in heaven. The moment we repent and believe that Jesus is our savior, we receive the Holy Spirit. We don’t magically change; our tempers don’t cease, our depression and anxiety don’t go away, and our health doesn’t improve. The enemy doesn’t stop his attacks. In fact, he attacks us more because he doesn’t want us to depend on Jesus.
We remain imperfect and so do others. Some pray for the enemy to leave and the Holy Spirit to fill us, do what we can to change, and depend on Jesus for change to become more like Him. That’s how we grow so we can love and have mercy on others as God does us. Our reactions to the comments and actions of others will either be devastating or healing. I think God wants us to partake in the healing process.
Father God, I praise you for having mercy on us all. Kick the enemy out of my life and fill me with Your Holy Spirit. Help me become more like Jesus so I can show Your mercy to others, always, and be a part of their healing process. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.