Think a minute…Bram Stoker was a successful theatre manager in England during Queen Victoria’s reign. Everybody who knew him said he was one of the most easy-going, kindest men they knew. Bram’s wife, Florence, was a beautiful woman who had been courted by wealthy men of high social status, including the famous Oscar Wilde; yet she chose to marry this exceptionally fine gentleman Bram Stoker.
The Stokers were seen at all the high-society parties and important events. Later when their child was born, people said their marriage and family was perfect. Bram Stoker was known as Mr. Nice Guy. He often gave money to his friends without asking for anything in return. Bram and his wife had many famous friends including Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, and the President of the United States, Teddy Roosevelt.
No one ever suspected that this exceptionally nice man actually lived a double life. They did not know that at night after work and his proper social appearances, Bram Stoker became a different person. He was also a writer. In fact, he wrote the famous story Dracula based on his own real life at night and all of the dark, immoral behavior he did with prostitutes. Bram Stoker, this nice man by day and depraved wild creature by night, eventually died from the sexually transmitted disease of syphilis.
Jesus said there are many nice, religious people who live double lives. “A hypocrite is someone who is not himself on Sunday.” Heaps of people say and do all the good, right things on the outside for others to see, but inside they are full of self-righteous pride, dishonesty, immorality, jealousy, unforgiveness, greed, gossip, prejudice, or drunkenness.
They continue to live their own way and refuse to live Jesus’ true way in their heart and daily life. The Bible strongly warns us that a person like this is not a child of God and will not go to heaven because his or her heart does not belong to God, since Jesus is not the true Lord and love of their life.
Tragically, many of us do not even know that we are not children of God and followers of Jesus, so we will have the most horrifying shock when we die and do not go to heaven. We think because we are kind, generous, and go to church, that we have a “good heart”.
But Jesus made it clear that people like this sometimes have the worst kind of sinful heart. Many of us good, church-going people are the worst kind of sinners, because our hearts are full of sinful, religious pride and self-righteousness. He said at least a prostitute or murderer knows he or she is a sinner who desperately needs God’s forgiveness and power to change.
We must live by our Creator’s true standards not our own. We are forgiven and saved on God’s terms, not ours. That is why God the Son came to show and make the only way for us to live as He created us to, which must start deep in our heart.
We not only need God to forgive us for our sin of being rebellious, but to forgive us for our sin of being religious, when we proudly assume that we are good enough for God to accept us on our terms, not His. Once and for all, won’t you ask Jesus Christ to forgive you and help you start changing your heart and way of living? Only Christ can enable you to live His way both in public and in private, night and day, every day. Then you can be fully free to be a true follower of Christ and always “be yourself on Sunday”. Just think a minute…