How can we help Lahaina and its people? Pray for wisdom. Wisdom from God will not end with “thoughts and prayers”. We must yearn for the kind of wisdom that turns our faith into actions that help people. The Hawaiian Spirit of Aloha bears striking similarities to the Spirit of the LORD that grows love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The Way of Jesus requires us to do wise, loving actions UNTO the Hawaiian people and FOR the Hawaiian people. Not to do things TO the Hawaiian people in the ways of the Power of Money, the Power of Religion, and the Power of the Kingdoms of the World that have led to so much tyranny, slavery, racism, and colonialism in Hawaii and throughout the world.
The photos and videos of fire-ravaged Lahaina and its people break our hearts. Their homes; their historic, charming town; and their very lives were consumed by fires in the course of a few hours.
How can we help?
Pray for wisdom.
James the brother of Jesus promised us that:
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5).
This wisdom from God will not end with “thoughts and prayers”. We must yearn for the kind of wisdom that turns our faith into actions that help people.
As James warned: “[F]aith without deeds is dead” (James 2:26). And as Paul taught: “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Galatians 5:6-7).
In this situation, what wise deeds should express themselves through our love?
We need to be guided by what Jesus called the Two Greatest Commandments:
—Love the LORD our God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind;
—And do for others what we would want them to do for us. (Matthew 22:37-40; Matthew 7:12).
In this Way of Jesus, the “hands” of God become our hands!
Loving the LORD our God includes loving the Creation as the LORD our God did in the First Chapter of Genesis. Our restoration of the Creation needs to include the sky, sea, and land; the plants, animals and humans. (Genesis 1:3-31).
Furthermore, our work restoring the Creation must continue until all Creation is good, it is very good! (Genesis 1:31; Romans 8:19-21).
And what about the people of Hawaii and their indigenous traditions? Their Spirit of Aloha!
Their indigenous traditions are worthy of our respect and admiration. Why? Because the Spirit of Aloha manifests the Spirit of the LORD our God. (Romans 2:13-15; Acts 17:22-28).
The Spirit of Aloha and the Spirit of the LORD our God produce the same kinds of fruit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
We can see the similarities by reading from Section 5-7.5 of the Hawaiian statute that defines the Aloha Spirit (quoted below in the READ MORE section of this blog).
For example, the Aloha Spirit produces:
—kindness expressed with tenderness;
—unity expressed with harmony;
—agreeableness expressed with pleasantness;
—humility expressed with modesty;
—patience expressed with perseverance;
—mutual regard and affection that extend warmth in caring with no obligation (sounds like Amazing Grace!); and
—the essence of relationships in which each person is important to every other person for collective existence (sounds like the Body of Christ!) (1 Corinthians 12:4-13:7).
To paraphrase the Wisdom of Jesus, we shall recognize whether people and their traditions are good or bad by the fruit that their lives and traditions grow. (Matthew 7:16,20):
[E]very good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. (Matthew 7:17-18).
Certainly, the indigenous people and traditions of Hawaii deserve our respect—even our admiration—because they grow so much good fruit.
How can we show our respect and admiration for indigenous peoples and their traditions?
By following the Golden Rule that is traditionally stated as: “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.”
The Golden Rule is based on Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31. Versions vary on whether the word “unto” should be translated as doing “to” or “for”.
I prefer to understand that the Golden Rule means doing for people instead of doing to people.
Many versions of the Bible talk about doing to people what we would want them to do to us. (Matthew 7:12; Luke 6;31).
But I prefer the nuances of replacing the word to with for in some of these versions of the Bible.
The nuances of doing unto people and for people what we would like people to do unto us and for us are sometimes far different from the nuances of doing to people what we would like them to do to us.
Frankly, in the Twenty-First Century (and throughout history!), there’s been far too much doing to people instead of doing for people.
This danger increases immensely when one person, religion, nation, or civilization is more powerful (militarily, politically, economically or technologically) than the other person, religion, nation, or civilization. Often, the temptation to do things to the other person, religion, nation, or civilization leads to tyranny, persecution, slavery, racism, and colonialism.
Sadly, the story of the United States intervening in Hawaii includes stories of tyranny, persecution, racism, and colonialism.
And so, we must increase our commitment to rebuild Hawaii in the very best traditions of the Spirit of Aloha and of the Way of Jesus. In the very best traditions of my Vision of America:
—blessing all people,
—setting all people free; and
—healing all hurting people.
We must extend helping hands in the indigenous Spirit of Aloha in ways that give help unto and for Hawaiians.
We must oppose efforts to do things to Hawaiians in the ways of the Power of Money, the Power of Religion, or the Power of the Kingdoms of the World.
After all, Jesus taught us to reject these Powers. How? By rejecting the temptation of these Powers as he himself did shortly after the start of his public ministry. (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13). And by opposing these Powers as he himself did even though it led to his torture and crucifixion. (See my blog “Jesus Climbs the Temple Mount):
A good way for us to start following this Way of Jesus is by listening.
Not by listening to what we non-Hawaiians want and to the ways that we non-Hawaiians want to do it.
But by listening to what Hawaiians want and to the ways that Hawaiians want to do it.
By listening in this Way of Jesus, we will hear, see and understand what we should do unto and for Hawaiians. (Isaiah 6:9-10).
We will hear, see and understand how we can help Hawaiians heal their land. (Isaiah 6:10).
By hearing, seeing and understanding this Way of Jesus we will learn to follow ways that all people—including the Hawaiian people—want us to do things unto them and for them, instead of doing things to them.
QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT
In your life, when have you wisely acted in ways that grow love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? When have you not acted in these ways?
In your family, when have you wisely acted in ways that grow love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? When have you not acted in these ways?
In your business dealings, when have you wisely acted in ways that grow love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? When have you not acted in these ways?
In your political views and actions, when have you wisely acted in ways that grow love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? When have you not acted in these ways?
When have you listened carefully in order to hear, see and understand the wisest ways to help other people and to heal their life and “land”? When have you not listened carefully?
For a related blog, please read my blog “Lahaina: The Finger of God—and of Humans!
Chapter 5 of Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes:
§ 5-7.5 “Aloha Spirit”. (a) “Aloha Spirit” is the coordination of mind and heart within each person. It brings each person to the self. Each person must think and emote good feelings to others. In the contemplation and presence of the life force, “Aloha“, the following unuhi laulā loa may be used:
“Akahai“, meaning kindness to be expressed with tenderness;
“Lōkahi“, meaning unity, to be expressed with harmony;
“ʻOluʻolu” meaning agreeable, to be expressed with pleasantness;
“Haʻahaʻa“, meaning humility, to be expressed with modesty;
“Ahonui“, meaning patience, to be expressed with perseverance.
These are traits of character that express the charm, warmth and sincerity of Hawaii’s people. It was the working philosophy of native Hawaiians and was presented as a gift to the people of Hawaiʻi. ”Aloha” is more than a word of greeting or farewell or a salutation. ”Aloha” means mutual regard and affection and extends warmth in caring with no obligation in return. “Aloha” is the essence of relationships in which each person is important to every other person for collective existence. ”Aloha” means to hear what is not said, to see what cannot be seen and to know the unknowable.
(b) In exercising their power on behalf of the people and in fulfillment of their responsibilities, obligations and service to the people, the legislature, governor, lieutenant governor, executive officers of each department, the chief justice, associate justices, and judges of the appellate, circuit, and district courts may contemplate and reside with the life force and give consideration to the “AlohaSpirit”. [L 1986, c 202, § 1]