Throughout recorded time various cultures have declared certain things taboo and their transgression punishable by death. Hawaiʻi also had such a system and although it no longer prevails there still exists in Hawaiian culture an understanding that in order to be in harmony with others, the ʻāina (the land) and the Divine there are certain things which simply should not be done. Which makes the existence of modern-day crime in Hawaiʻi all the more egregious. Some cultures have also decreed that eating certain foods pollutes an individual. Even today some religiously-minded individuals make a big deal out of foods that they consider impure, the premise being that certain things that go into you can affect your moral orientation! Jesus Christ on the other hand rightly observed that this is the wrong emphasis, that it is what comes out of the heart and then out of the mouth that expresses our moral standing or lack thereof.
The desire to be good is as Hawaiians have long-understood the desire to be in harmony with the Divine reality and what it asks of us. And yet there exist individuals who resist any constraints on their inclination towards badness. Hackers come to mind along with the mayhem they wreck in the lives of their victims. When my mother was still working it was discovered by her supervisor that a fellow-worker had taken Mom’s confidential information from the files in the office, opened various accounts and credit cards in Mom’s name and was on a wild spending spree. It was also discovered the woman had done this to several other co-workers in the store.
The transgressor was eventually arrested and convicted but the damage had been done. Mom had to spend many nervous months closing accounts, canceling cards and generally keeping a relentlessly vigilant eye on demands for payments lest her credit rating be ruined due to the actions of the other woman. Mom kept asking, “Why would someone do such a hurtful thing to someone who had never harmed her?” The evil spewed on Mom’s life was conceived in the woman’s heart before she ever gave birth to her immoral acts. What constitutes our goodness is not found in what we eat or don’t eat, what we believe or don’t believe, but is found in how we live out our relationships each day. How we do that is affected by the fruit growing in our heart. For us to ponder… “Is my heart growing fruit which is sweet in goodness… or the bitter taste of evil fruit?”