In our reading for today we have an interesting story involving a man named Simon. Simon witnessed people receiving the Holy Spirit with what seemed to be the touch (laying of hands) of Peter and John.
Simon, wanting power and prestige, offered Peter and John money to show him how he could give the Holy Spirit to others by laying his hands on them. Simon thought he could buy the power of the Holy Spirit. It is easy to see how misguided people could feel that way in today's materialistic world just as Simon did almost 2,000 years ago.
Of course Peter harshly rebukes Simon and tells him his heart is not right with God. The only way to receive the Holy Spirit is to do what Peter tells Simon to do - turn from sin, ask God for forgiveness, and ask God to fill you with His Spirit. No amount of money can buy salvation or forgiveness of sin. These are only gained by repentance and the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior.
Now you might be saying to yourself that I am stating the fairly obvious, and I would agree with you. But the next part of the story makes a very strong point that can easily be overlooked. After Peter harshly rebukes Simon, Simon does not get angry or defensive, he asks Peter to pray for him. The last time someone rebuked you, a friend, your boss, a teacher, your parent, were you angry or defensive? I know I can get that way in a hurry. If someone rebukes us for a serious mistake and does it for our own good, we should follow Simon’s example, admit our error, repent, and pray for God's forgiveness.
Some would say that Simon shows us how not to act. When we first meet Simon I would have to agree. But I would submit that Simon's true teaching is showing us the proper way to receive criticism and to change our ways.
Wishing you much success in your walk with Christ,