About a year ago, I fell in love with the Hawaiian phrase “Aloha ke Akua”. I was scrolling through the He>I website just a few minutes ago, and I came across it again. The phrase translates as “God is Love”. If you would’ve asked me at this time last summer, I wouldn’t of been able to tell you why I loved the phrase so much. It was tugging at my heart, I felt this calling to travel to the great state of Hawaii and chase my love for the Lord… but I didn’t. I’m a 20-year-old college student, I don’t have the money to drop everything and travel to Hawaii for the amount of time I feel like I would need to fully explore. So, I spent months planning the trip, stalking random Instagram photos of people in Hawaii, and in the end I was left in a slump. The photos were beautiful, and my heart hurt that I didn’t know when I would possibly get the chance to travel there. Then I remembered why my obsession with Hawaii started, and I realized that I can still explore this phrase and my faith in Indiana.
About this time yesterday, I was reading my bible at Starbucks. I’d opened the pages and came across Jude. One of the things I took away from Jude was that there are going to people who try to tear us down, people who will try to lead us away from the Lord, but we’re stronger than that. If we stay strong in our faith, we’ll always feel God’s love.
…Aloha ke Akua…God is Love…
The phrase was stuck with me after reading Jude, so I proceeding to flip through my bible, but I only made it back to 1 John. I began reading, the entire time being reminded of the fact that Jesus was sent to die for our sins, and it wasn’t until 1 John 4 that I realized why I was reading.
1 John 4 talks about how God is Love. God created us in the image of himself, and if we don’t love how do we truly know him? He showed us His love by sending His only Son to die for our sins… His love for us is that strong. I continued reading even though I was feeling overwhelmed at this point, but I knew I was missing something. I found it at the bottom of the page, “Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both,” and then again on the bottom of the next page, “Everything we do wrong is sin, but not all sin is fatal.” God loves us, every single one of us, and God will forgive our sins… That’s why He sent us Jesus and it wasn’t until the end of 1 John that I realized what was missing.
If God can forgive our sins and love us through everything, why can’t we forgive each other? Why do we allow dislike, and even hatred, to build up in our hearts when someone close to us does something wrong? We live a life knowing God will forgive us, but we choose not to forgive those around us… Is that what God wants?
These questions began to rack up in my brain, and I began to cry. (Yes y’all, I was crying in the back corner of Starbucks!!) In that moment, God’s love became so strong that my emotions took over. In that moment, I realized that everything I was stressed about didn’t matter. I’m stressed over material things like money and college and work. These three things are rewards from God himself… My talent got me to college, and my work-ethic got me the job, that job allows me to have money… What if I didn’t have my talent? What if I didn’t have the work-ethic that I have? Where would I be? I wouldn’t be surrounded with the people I’m surrounded with now, that’s for sure. That’s when I realized what I had to do…
I had to forgive the people around me. I had to forgive everyone who I was currently holding this anger towards because I need to spread love. I may not always agree with what other people are doing with their lives, but it isn’t my place to tell them what to do… I have to let them figure it out for themselves. My process of forgiveness has begun, but what about yours? I’m writing to encourage all of you to forgive those people around you. Forgive the people who have hurt you recently, forgive the people you’re holding a grudge against, forgive everyone… It’s not worth it. God loves those people just as much as he loves us. He forgave them already and we should too!
When I got to work this morning, I wrote the phrase “Aloha ke Akua” on my ankle. I remembered why I fell in love with it a year ago. It’s a reminder that God loves me just as much as He loves the people around me. It’s a reminder that I need to forgive and in some cases I need to forget. I need to spread love and not hate, and you should too! It’s a reminder that one day I’ll get to Hawaii to explore my faith in all the beautiful places I found through pictures on Instagram. It’s a reminder that His love is within all of us.
It’s a reminder that no matter how cruel the world around us may seem, and it doesn’t matter how hard we think life is at the moment, that His love is deep within all of us.
Aloha ke Akua, y’all… God is love. ❤