"Then Simon answered, 'pray tot he Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me'" (Acts 8:24).
Life is full of choices, consequences, and the choice to how we respond to those consequences. As a pastor I have and continue to live out the lessons learned from the mistakes that I've made. Sometimes those mistakes are made from carelessness, "prayerlessness," a lack of awareness, or perhaps a combination of all three. Once after becoming the lead pastor of a church, I had the opportunity and responsibility of filling a gap on our leadership team. I was determined that I knew exactly who it was to be. I was equally determined that it should be done right at the moment of the need. In my haste I staffed the position without consideration of various factors. I saw what I thought I needed and filled it based on what I wanted. What I failed to do was to slow down, seek adequate counsel, and wait patiently for God to speak to my heart. The decision was made. The course turned sour. I was left to pick up the pieces. Rather than dismiss it as "my bad" or defensively shift responsibility to other parties involved, I chose to learn something through my own mistakes, through humility, and by taking responsibility for my haste and not seeing the bigger picture.
Acts 8:24 shows another picture of humility and a teachable heart. Simon had been a sorcerer. He had been a master of working within the powers of darkness. Through the teaching and influence of the apostles, he had become a believer in Jesus and was baptized. Still he struggled with elements of his old life and the habits that had defined that life. On the occasion spoken of in Acts 8, he attempted to "buy" the incredible and unexplainable power to "give" the Holy Spirit to people with the laying on of his own hands. He had observed the apostles do this. He was intrigued and was seduced by the "control" that he thought they had. It took him back to a place he had been brought out. He was rebuked.
No one enjoys a rebuke or correction. Simon could have given into the defensive emotions that are were wrapped up in the old nature of his pride. He could have reverted to old habits and place a curse upon them in his anger and humiliation. He could have abandoned this new relationship with Jesus. Rather, he humbled himself and repented. He refused to allow his pride to rob him of a power that was more real than one he had ever known.
God has given you much to share with the world around you. He will strategically cross your path with others around you because He has given you something to speak and to share with them. Don't allow pride and arrogance to convince you that you are the only one who teaches, but accept that you still have more to learn. Purpose to be knows as one who not only teaches, but one who is teachable. Be open and willing to receive a rebuke or correction without taking it personally. Listen and choose not to respond defensively. Regardless of how hurtful the correction or comment is given, ask God to show you the truth that you need to learn. You will never be able to teach well if you're not open to learning well. Be open. Be humble. Be teachable.