Tonight we will be discussing Soren Kierkegaard’s Works of Love excerpt 27 The Greater Love and excerpt 28 Love the Person You See as found in Provocations. Last week we discussed generally God’s love for us and our love for our neighbor. This week’s discussion will focus on how God’s love for us shows us how to put our love of neighbor into practice.
Excerpt 28 Love the Person You See captures the very essence of loving your neighbor. Kierkegaard writes that “The task is not to find the loveable object, but to find the object before you loveable. . . To love is to love the person one sees.” He is careful to point out that we do not love another in spite of the other’s imperfections rather we love the other together with his imperfections. Likewise, we cannot love the perfections in a person because those perfections may change. We do not live in a perfect world with perfect people. Therefore, our duty to love is only fulfilled when we love our neighbor with all of his perfections and imperfections.
Kierkegaard uses the story of Peter and Jesus in John 21:15-19 to illustrate his point. At the Last Supper, Peter had promised that he would lay his life down for Jesus. John 13:37. Yet, when the time came, Peter denied Jesus during his trial (John 18:15-18, 25-27), he was nowhere to be found at the Crucifixion (John 19:25), he was absent at Jesus’ burial (John 19:38-42), and he never even visited the Tomb until Mary Magdalene told him it was empty (John 20:1-10). And yet, when Jesus meets Peter after the Resurrection his love for him remains despite Peter’s denial and imperfections. Jesus loved the Peter before him, just as we are called to do with those before us.
Dinner is at 6. The menu is roast pork. Discussion about 6:45. Hope to see you here.
We love, because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him, that he who loves God should love his brother also.1 John 4:19-21