Each week, Pastor G writes a short devotional blog on the church website that is based on a different Hawaiian Word each week. Then he writes a longer message devotional to deliver on Wednesday nights.
Today’s ‘Olelo Hawai’i word is Pono! It is one of my favorite words in the language. If you ask a kamaʻāina (a local/a child of the land) what today’s word means, you will usually get the response “righteous” or “right living.”
Among the other possible translations of pono are: accurate, necessary, correct, fair, virtuous, proper, benefit, goodness, just, uprightness, morality, excellence, successful, well-being, prosperity, in perfect order, righteous, necessary, balanced, etc. The synonyms are almost endless and depend on the context in which it is used. Here in Hawai’i, when people act without aloha we exhort them to “be pono!” Act properly. Do the right thing.
Being Pono means that you have a proper respectful relationship with your children, friends, neighbors, parents, spouse or significant other. It also applies to how you interact with your extended family and your co-workers and even complete strangers or enemies. To act Pono means all your actions and reactions should be just and fair, not ruined by resentment or anger or jealousy or vengeance. Acting pono is all about positive choices and blessing.
Ho’oponopono is a very complex system of seeking and offering reconciliation after someone has treated the other in a non-pono way. It is the setting right of bad feelings, forgetting what is past and looking forward to what is come.
Sometimes we can choose to be “right”- to win – perhaps losing the relationship in the process, or we can choose to restore and remain in relationship. The goal is for everyone to be pono with each other again, to have harmony restored.
As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. ~ Matthew 24:3-13
“…seek first His kingdom and His righteousness [or we could say His pono],
and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~ Matthew 6:33-34
The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”
~ Genesis 2:16-17
Just Fourteen Verses Later ….
When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband who was with her, and he ate. ~ Genesis 3:6
The man said, “The woman whom YOU GAVE to be with me,
SHE GAVE ME from the tree, and I ate.” ~ Genesis 3:12
So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” ~ Genesis 4:3-7
If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” ~ Genesis 4:7
טַב ~ yatab (HEBREW)
to be good, to be righteous, to be pono. To do things that are well or pleasing to God.
By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks. ~ Hebrews 11:4
For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous. ! 1 John 3:11-12
And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith. ~ Genesis 15:6
So, what are you facing today? What decisions and trials and challenges are before you? Do you ever feel overwhelmed and unsure of what each layer of decision will bring? Cease your striving and be pono! Don’t worry about tomorrow. Know that your God is large and in charge of His universe! You just do the next, right thing and be pono! Treat others the way you want to be treated. Look out for those less fortunate than yourself and honor God. Protect your friends and family and be pono! Care for widows and orphans and be pono. Forgive, restore and encourage and be pono. Be a good person; a righteous person; a balanced person; a pono person. Just do the next, right thing! BE PONO!