Our yard makes poison ivy happy. I learned this the hard way. Even though I was being careful, I came in contact with the plant and ended up with a nasty, itchy rash.

Poison ivy looks like many harmless plants, and it keeps company with some beautiful ones. One gardener couldn’t figure out why she got poison ivy whenever she pruned her roses. She later discovered that a poison ivy vine was taking advantage of the tender loving care she gave to her rosebush.

Some people are like toxic plants. They look harmless, and they blend in with people who, like roses, are fragrant and beautiful.

Simon the sorcerer fit this description. He followed Philip and was baptized, but then he asked to buy the ability to lay hands on people so they could receive the Holy Spirit. Peter was appalled at his request and urged him to repent (Acts 8:22).

Sometimes people use the favorable environment of a healthy church as a network for selfish purposes. Like poison ivy among roses, they cause much misery. Like Simon, anyone who does this needs to repent, and everyone else needs to avoid contact with such a person. Spiritual look-alikes appear good but their “fruit” is toxic.