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Love is patient ... —1 Corinthians 13:4

What is the point of being broken? Is brokenness an end in itself? No. The text shows that there is a fruit. Love is patient. Patience is a passive reaction, and it is the first fruit of brokenness. Patience, how we react. The Greek word for "patience" is macrothoumei and has a very complex meaning; it is impossible to translate it into one word. "Patience" is as good as any. There are three particular meanings of being slow (or patient) that I want us to look at here.

The first is being slow to anger. Does that make you think of God? F. F. Bruce has commented that the love of 1 Corinthians 13 really is nothing more than God. If we want to know what God is like, this is it. The more we have of God, the less angry we will be. When we are argumentative and judgmental, it is because we have forgotten God's patience with us.

The second example of slowness is being slow to accuse. Look at these words from Proverbs 19:11: "A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense."

The third meaning is being slow to assume. A person who has not been broken is very quick to assume things and always assumes the worst, whereas 1 Corinthians 13 says, "Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." The broken person is slow to assume anything, because he realizes that he doesn't know all the facts, and in the meantime he will give that person the benefit of the doubt.

Love demonstrates patience; love also demonstrates kindness. Is the fruit of brokenness displayed in your life today?

Excerpted from Just Love (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1997).

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