Tag Archives: True Love

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.

True Love

Read 1 Corinthians 13

“No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8)

There are plenty of films that try to capture the emotional reality of true love; seldom do they ever truly succeed. When it comes to true love, we Western humans cannot think past a good friendship or a steamy love affair. That is simply how we are wired to think because that is what we are told true love is all about. Frozen was one of the films that caught a glimpse of true love; however, even there, it was bogged down by the fact that the love came between two sisters who actually cared for each other. That love is not hard to imagine.

What still of a love that is for someone or, in this case, something that has tried to destroy you. That kind of love is of the AGAPE kind, the kind we learn and sing about in church, the kind that our Scripture passage is on today, though we sadly often relegate this passage to weddings and nothing else. This is sad, because weddings were the very last thing on the Apostle Paul’s mind when he wrote those words.

In the hit 90s/2000s show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy follows Angel outside following his return from. It is here that she learns he is about to wait for the sun to rise in order to die. For those not familiar with the show, Angel (or Angelus) was a most evil vampire who delighted in torturing, maiming and destroying people prior to killing them. For Angelus, the hunt was a giant cat and mouse game.

In Season 2 of the show, we learn that Angelus’ soul was restored by gypsies so that he would be tortured by the memory of all the lives he had destroyed. The only thing that would cause him to loose his soul again is if the spell failed to work, even for a moment. Well, needless to say, Buffy and Angel got romantically involved and ended up making love. In that moment of happiness, his soul was lost and he became Angelus again.

I don’t need to say this, because it is obvious, but Angelus begins to hunt Buffy, playing cat and mouse with her, hurting her loved ones, killing her watcher’s girlfriend, and raising hell just about everwhere. He literally seeks to destroy her by destroying and dividing everyone around her, and finally Buffy realized she needed to kill him; however, right before she did his soul was returned to him as Buffy’s friend Willow and her watcher recast the spell to put the curse back on him.

Still, Buffy did kill him to close the portal to hell that he had opened. The only way to close the portal was to offer the blood of the one who opened it and so, tragically, Buffy had to kill him even though she knew her Angel was back. This was a harrowing moment, but in Season 3 we find that Angel has been returned back to this world. No one is sure how or why, not even Angel, but upon his return he realized that the world would be better, safer even, with him gone.

Of course, there are a lot of details I am skipping over, but this brings us back to the scene I started out with above. Buffy follows Angel outside and discovers he’s about to kill himself via the light of dawn, and she is pleading with him not to do it. Angel is insistent and they even get violent with each other as Angel tries to push her away so that he can carry out his plan. He yells at her about how he can remember EVERY victim, every single way they died, every horrible thing he did to them and he has come to realization that he does not deserve Buffy’s love let alone to live.

After Buffy smacked him to knock sense into him, Angel hit her back and then grabbed her shouting, “Am I worth saving, huh? Am I a righteous man? The world wants me gone!”

Buffy tearfully responded, “But what about me? I love you so much. I tried to make you go away. I killed you and it didn’t help. And I hate it. I hate that it’s so hard and that you can hurt me so much. I know everything you did because you did it to me. God, I wish that I wished you dead. I don’t.” Pausing, Buffy whispered, “I can’t.

The fact is Buffy and Angel would never get the romance they once had back. That was over. Yes, they loved each other, but given the circumstances, their love could NEVER be eros again. Instead, this deep-seeded love must grow into agape love, where they care for each other in the most deepest and purest of senses. Their love is sacrificial, sanctified, holy and true. That’s right, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, captured the essence of selfless, true love. Buffy teaches us what Paul meant in his chapter on love. And this love, this selfless, sacrificial love will always conquer evil, sin and death. Why did Angel return from the grave with his soul, becaue he was consumed by TRUE LOVE, which cannot exist apart from God. He had been given a second, second chance and Buffy loved him too much to let him throw that away, even though his presence would continue to torment her because she can never be with him.

Friends, we are called to live such lives of love because that is what Christ calls us to. We are not to be consumed by the world or the way the world does things; rather, our response is to be TRUE AGAPE, TRUE LOVE. That means we are to be patient, kind, non-jealous, peaceful, humble, respectful, well-mannered, non-judgmental, just, merciful and truthful people. We aren’t to rejoice at wrongdoing, nor are we to rejoice at punishment; rather, we should be seeking reconciliation between all people, their communities, and God…just as Buffy did with Angel. Let us follow suit with Buffy and be a people of true love.

“The hardest thing in this world is to live in it.” – Buffy Summers

Lord, help me to live in this world as you did. Help me to be an agent of true love. Amen.

A LOOK BACK: A Phantom Lesson

'phantom-of-the-opera'-at-25-offers-a-special-showWriting the Life-Giving Water devotionals is not only an important ministry, but is a deeply rewarding spiritual discipline for me as well. With that said, observing Sabbath (aka rest) is an important spiritual discipline as well. So here is a LOOK BACK to a devotion I wrote in the past. Read it, reflect on it, be challenged by it. Who knows how God will speak to you through it and how it will bear relevance in your life today? May the Holy Spirit guide you as you read the suggested Scripture and subsequent devotion.