True Love Revisited

Read 1 Corinthians 13

“We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19 NLT)

In the previous devotion, I shared with you the story of Angel and Buffy, and of their love for one another. If you recall, Buffy loved Angel so much that she could not sit around and watch him kill himself by watching the sunrise. In that devotion, we saw the selfless act of Buffy putting Angel’s well-being before her own when she decided she would not let Angel carry out suicide.

Yet, that is only one part of the true love that is displayed in this third season. In episode 20, entitled The Prom, Angel is forced to return the favor to Buffy of showing true love. Following the events that were discussed in the last devotion, Buffy and Angel still have somewhat of a romantic relationship left. They are around each other all the time and Angel feels the need to protect her; however, at the same time he is very aware of the reality of things.

Buffy is merely an 18 year old Senior in High School and Angel, while he might look like he’s in his early 20s, he’s really 234 years old. That’s quite an age gap for any couple to overcome, let alone the fact that he’s a vampire who can never be any more physically intimate with her than kissing her. Anything beyond that will cause his soul to be lost, the curse to be lifted, and his demonic alter-ego Angelus to burst forth.

Angel truly has feelings for Buffy. In a lot of ways, he’s the perfect partner for her because he knows everything about her, he understands she’s the slayer, and he supports her in that. On the other hand, he’s a vampire who could never fulfill her deepest desires and hopes. He can never have children let alone make love to her, he can never take her out into the daylight. A life with him would be a life in the tomb for her, no matter how much of Slayer she is.

Add to that the fact that Angel was also secretly visited by Buffy’s mom, who reminded him of Buffy’s age and that, as a lovestruck teen, she’s never going to think in her own best interest because her mind can focus on is Angel. Again, Angel is aware of all of this and, right before he answers the door and finds Buffy’s mom has visited him, he is looking at the cover of her school notebook and notices she has drawn a doodle that says, “Angel & Buffy 4Ever”. She is no more than a teen who thinks she knows what is best for her, or at least she is trying to fool herself into thinking that Angel is what is best for her, and he knows it.

Thus, toward the middle of the episode, Angel breaks up with Buffy. He tells her all of the misgivings he has regarding the relationship, that she deserves someone who could take her into the light, who could be a father to her kids, who could complete her in ways he never will be able to. As painful as it is, doubly so because he can clearly see he is breaking Buffy’s heart, he chooses to do what he believes is right for Buffy as opposed to what is easiest or more beneficial for him.

Angel loves Buffy so much that he knows in order to make this separation work, he has to leave Sunnydale and relocate elsewhere. In the end, as much as it hurts Buffy, she has the maturity to know that Angel’s actions are purley born from love. That he cares for her and, as much as it pains her to admit it, he is right in his assessment. She knows the relationship could never really be a reality, even as much as Angel did, but she needs Angel to be strong where she cannot be…and ANGEL IS the rock she needs him to be.

So friends, as you can see, TRUE LOVE is not always warm and fuzzy. It doesn’t always end in romance and honeymoons. It sometimes has to hold people accountable and, as in the instance of this episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it sometimes has to let go even when it seems to go against your very love of the person to do that. Jesus modeled that kind of love and, by his grace, we can to.

“The course of true love never did run smooth.” – William Shakespeare

Lord, fill me with your TRUE LOVE and help me be true in sharing it with others. Amen.

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