Simon was surprised at the apostle’s response. I wonder if we are surprised when our own hearts fall foul of the holiness of God?

“Oh!” said Simon, “pray for me! Pray to the Master that nothing like that will ever happen to me!” And with that, the apostles were on their way, continuing to witness and spread the Message of God’s salvation, preaching in every Samaritan town they passed through on their return to Jerusalem. Acts 8:24-25 (The Message)

I can’t pretend to be ‘holier than thou’, no one would be fooled. In fact, anyone who is ‘holier than thou’, in my experience, fool very few! The surprise that Simon expresses is based on his assumption that he is better, different, more worthy, than anyone else. His self-centredness betrayed him as he thought that, with a little money and influence, he could be like those Jesus called as apostles. He had no perception of the sacrifice and preparation these men had put themselves through. He had no perception of what it means to walk as Jesus walked. He is quickly taken back and asks for the apostles to pray for him. I do like his change of heart, although we hear no more of his journey I am heartened to think that, from then, he went on in faith.

The fact of faith is that we are never on the sharp end of the stick if we practice two simple principles. Repentance and faith are to be our constant companions on the journey. If we speak out of term or walk out of step with God’s will we are to take stock, repent (change our thinking toward God) and walk on in faith. The idea that we should remain on our knees, beating ourselves (even metaphorically or psychologically), and looking downcast, is not what Jesus intends. When we recognize our error and come to him for forgiveness we can depend on him to do so, and what Jesus does he does perfectly.

May we have the humility to recognize when we are in error and the sense to show our repentance in order that God can fully forgive us. Then, may we walk forward in faith with our Saviour, following him and learning from him. Amen.