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Kamehameha Schools was founded by the will of Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the great-granddaughter of Kamehameha the Great.

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HomeI MUA Newsroom Advent Week 3:  Huikala a Ho‘oku‘u:  Forgiveness is Extending Grace
KS Kapālama Kahu Kordell Kekoa reflects on how Queen Lili‘uokalani exemplified huikala (forgiveness) when enemies overthrew the Hawaiian monarchy and falsely accused, humiliated and imprisoned her in ʻIolani Palace in 1895.
Advent Week 3:  Huikala a Ho‘oku‘u:  Forgiveness is Extending Grace

Kamehameha Schools envisions its learners to be grounded in Christian and Hawaiian values. Nā kahu o Kamehameha – Brian Boshard, Kordell Kekoa and Kalani Wong – created weekly Hawaiian-focused Advent devotionals. Although designed with students in mind, they can also be used by families or individuals to celebrate the coming of Christmas.

In this third week of Ka Hikina, we look at a very difficult bridge that we must all cross in order to fully appreciate Kalikimaka and more so, life. This idea of forgiving others is not new to any of us. In fact, there is probably someone that came to mind as you read these first sentences. 

Are you feeling anxious inside as you contemplate the situation in which you are with that person? Have you wondered, “What would life be like if I had never met that person? Can I do this by myself? Has anyone ever been in my position? What do I do?” These are all natural thoughts and many times discouraging. How do we battle through this hurt and pain?

These are great questions to set us up for a fantastic solution that will bring about peace,joy,and contentment during this Kalikimaka season. You will want to write today’s date in your memory as a life changing Kalikimaka. We are talking about extending grace to you and to another. It is forgiving those who have done you wrong.  No not just saying, “I forgive you.” It is extending lokomaikaʻi – Ke Akua’s undeserved favor through you. Wow! Something a person does not deserve, but will be life changing.

We can start by looking not at that other person, but rather at ourselves. When you forgive someone, does it feel like you hoʻokuʻu, or set them free? That you’re letting them off the hook? Does it feel like you’re making an excuse for their behavior? On the contrary, forgiveness isn’t any of these things. It’s not saying that what’s wrong is okay. It’s not forgetting hurt feelings. Forgiveness is extending grace. It is a person’s willingness to ‘auamo – bear the consequences of another person's choice. This is true forgiveness.

In Hawaiian, our word for forgiveness is kala or huikala. Kala means “to release, untie, unbind, let go.” Our kūpuna recognized that a figurative cord that links the violated and violator in mutual unpleasantness must be “untied, released” by both. Hoʻoponopono (mutual mediation) was a process in which kala or huikala (forgiveness) was exercised.

Remember we said this is not an easy lesson or action, but it brings so much freedom. This Advent Action sets us up for a memorable Christmas. This action is actually commanded by God, and it’s something you can do for others… and for yourself.

We could define forgiveness as relinquishing the desire to hurt someone who hurt you. Let go of frustration and a mindset that revenge is the answer. Stabilize your mindset that this is not for you to settle. Say to yourself:  “It is so much bigger than me… it comes from a higher power, a saving grace. Iesū, this baby that was born in a manger, has the power to forgive and I can have that same power to forgive others.”

Our Queen Liliʻuokalani exemplified kala, huikala against her enemies in Hawaiʻi’s provisional government who overthrew the monarchy and falsely accused, humiliated and imprisoned her in ʻIolani Palace in 1895. During her captivity, Liliʻuokalani composed one of her most poignant and classic hymns, “Ke Aloha o Ka Haku” (The Queen’s Prayer). In verse three, she prays for Ke Akua’s forgiveness – purifying and “setting right” all wrongs.

Mai nānā ʻinoʻino – Behold not with malevolence
Nā hewa o kānaka – The sins of mankind
Akā e huikala – But forgive
A maʻemaʻe nō – And cleanse

We can all try to exemplify such humility and dignity found in the Christ-like character of our aliʻi Liliʻu and her kaikuaʻana (older sister) hānai, Bernice Pauahi.

Here’s another cool connection.  Have you noticed the word “give” in “forgive”? When we forgive, we give someone a makana, a gift that is free and freeing. This gift is like waiving off a penalty, where we give ourselves the gift of grudge-free living.

When we withhold forgiveness, it has been said that it is like an acid that does more damage to the vessel in which it is stored than on the victim it is poured.  Unforgiveness brings bitterness and we end up making life more difficult for everyone involved. We not only refuse to offer what Ke Akua has given to us, but we also hurt ourselves. Unforgiveness bears down on your heart and gets in the way of spiritual growth.

Ke Akua knows it’s not easy to forgive, but He wouldn’t ask you to do something without giving you the strength to do it! Ask Him for the ability to forgive freely as you have been forgiven. He’s the Master of the impossible! His desire is not for us to try to do this on our own. 

He has said, “Cast all your cares on me for I care for you”.  He is already walking alongside you, He might even be holding your hand. Feel His presence in this time of waiting and now take action to make this the best Kalikimaka ever and a very successful Advent for 2016.

SP2020 is a five-year strategic plan that will guide Kamehameha Schools from 2015 to 2020. The plan marks a starting point toward KS’ Vision 2040, which envisions success for all Native Hawaiian learners.

This series of Advent devotionals supports Vision 2040 by instilling in haumāna and others the Christian and Hawaiian values embraced by KS’ beloved founder, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop.

Nā kahu o Kamehameha – Brian Boshard, Kordell Kekoa and Kalani Wong – helped create weekly Hawaiian-focused Advent devotionals to celebrate the coming of Christmas. (Visit the I Mua Newsroom to view the latest one.) This week's Advent devotional theme is Forgiveness. Sing along as Kamehameha Schools Kapālama High School student Emi Ahlo plays this week's hīmeni “Pō La‘i Ē” on the piano, and try to find inner peace by forgiving others.

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