“Repent therefore of your wickedness . . .” Acts 8:22
The gospel comes to us in unexpected places. The good news always breaks forth in the darkest moments. If it didn’t, there would be no hope for any of us.
Peter spoke in his typical thunderous tone, “May your money perish with you, your heart is not right in the sight of God.” Who would have expected that those words of cold, hard truth would be followed by a gentle solution – repent. Peter didn’t just denounce Simon for his wicked request, he offered Simon a way out of his wrong-doing.
Simon could not be expected to understand the demands of receiving the Holy Spirit, for he was wicked and practiced the dark arts. He believed he had to barter to get the presence of God. Let this be a lesson for us from the lost, Simon’s response was incorrect and unrefined, but he did respond. And that’s the point.
The heart of the gospel is, whosoever may come. We call out from the point where the pain presses. It may be from a place of hurt, or constant defeat, the need to escape the flames of hell or fear of death, or, for some, God is their last option. Whatever makes one call out, “God have mercy on me,” then let them come to the Lord of life.
Where the pain is, prayer should be. Our prayer to heaven will come out of the wound that hurts the most. If our prayer is theologically correct, or if our prayer is imperfect and born out of a place of anguish and desperation, God will receive it.
Your reproof of others must be driven by the opportunity of the reproved to experience forgiveness and restoration. We are never to give up on those God is working to reach. We do not hold back on confronting sin. We hold a fierce light over it, but in doing so, we point to the possibility of change through repentance.
Are you glad God has heard your imperfect prayers?