“Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” Acts 8:22-23
Grace and peace to you fellow sojourners!
A man named Simon practiced sorcery with a skill that astounded the Samarian people. As a result, he elevated himself as someone great among them. He received attention from the small and the great and to his personal gratification they called him, “The Great Power of God!” When Philip came to town and preached the good news of Christ to the Samaritan people, they turned to him and believed him and even Simon himself was persuaded. After Simon was baptized, he began to follow Philip everywhere he went and was astounded by the signs and great miracles that were being performed at the hands of Philip.
Soon after that Peter and John visited Samaria because they heard that Samaria had welcomed God’s message. They prayed for the people and began laying their hands on the believers, and they received the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw this, he offered money to Peter and John asking them to give him this power so that he too may lay his hands on people so that they could receive the Spirit. It was then that Peter revealed to Simon that he was poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity and he had no part or share in this matter.
Bitterness was poisoning Simon and Peter confirmed that he had not genuinely converted to Christianity because his heart was still not right before God. Bitterness (also considered resentment) can be comprised of disappointment, anger, and fear. Unresolved resentment (lack of repentance) then becomes an obstacle to receiving the full grace of God. The remedy is laid out by Peter. The problem must first be recognized. Secondly, we must repent. Thirdly, we must pray to the Lord and ask for forgiveness. If we fail to acknowledge our bitterness, we will be chained to this iniquity, continually filtering our interactions and circumstances through this stained lens of resentment. Fellow sojourners, we do not want this.
What do righteousness and uprightness have in common? Lord, may we never be content to accept bitterness as our companion. If it resides in us, please awaken us to it and allow it to make us so ill that we renounce it as we reject spoiled food. Lord, we seek YOUR prescribed relief.
Thank you, Lord, for Your remedy. I choose to forgive others because You have forgiven me. I desire to have fruit in keeping with repentance which is the proper evidence of my sincerity. Help me to love others, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. Amen.
In His grace,