A few weeks ago, someone told me I was kind and gentle.
I literally just stared at the person, unable to believe what I had just been called—but probably not for the reason you expect.
Let me explain by going back a few years.
Be Kind and Gentle
I was in high school, and I was … a typical high schooler. I always said things like “I hate people,” and I was pretty rude to just about everyone.
My mom would always chide me and tell me to be a “kinder, gentler Hannah.”
I always rolled my eyes at these words. I knew she was right, but I was in high school, so that meant I was always right no matter what.
At this time, I was a Christian, but I hadn’t fully come into my own in my faith yet. I wasn’t reading my Bible daily, and I definitely wasn’t praying regularly. I just kind of floated through church and youth group, making friends but not deepening my faith.
Because of that, I just assumed that being mildly rude and “hating people” was part of my personality—I can’t change who I am!
Seek the Lord
But still my mom repeated: Kinder, gentler Hannah.
I heard that phrase so many times throughout high school and college that it became a joke among my friends. One year for Lent, I even gave up being rude in an attempt to be kinder and gentler. (Spoiler: It didn’t last long.)
In college, I began to seek God more. I was going to church not because it was “what I had always done” but because I wanted to know God more. I was reading my Bible almost daily, and I was trying to find ways to deepen my prayer life. I was excited about the Gospel for the first time!
A Changed Heart and Prayers Fulfilled
Fast forward a few more years to when someone called me kind and gentle—the exact words my mother had been fervently praying I would become.
It was literally unfathomable to me that someone would ever genuinely call me kind or gentle. So when it did happen, I was floored.
It’d be great if I could sit back and say, “Well, I worked hard to become kinder and gentler!” But the truth is that I didn’t work hard at it at all. I didn’t even really try. In fact, I think at the time, I didn’t even have the desire to become kinder and gentler. I thought I liked who I was, so I didn’t want to change.
Despite my unwillingness, God still worked in my heart.
It literally took years for my heart to change, and it was definitely not due to anything I did. But miraculously, God still did it. I’m so thankful that His Word took root in my heart and made me more like Jesus.
And thanks to the work that God did in me, I am a firm believer that people can and do change—but only by the grace of God.
Even the people who you least expect to be impacted by the Gospel—your atheist co-worker, your apathetic neighbor, your unbelieving family member—can be saved. Never underestimate the power of God.
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:25–26)
Find out more about how God can change your life for the better.