“There is a way to be good again.”
Standing in his apartment in Fremont, California, Amir hears those words coming over the phone from Pakistan.
Amir, the main character in Khaled Hosseini’s novel Kite Runner, fled Afghanistan
with his father when the Russians invaded. But Amir was running from more than an oppressive government. He was running from himself - from haunting memories of the best friend he had betrayed, from his own shame.
Now, an old family friend was offering a way to be good again. It required Amir to do something very dangerous and heroic. He must risk his life by returning to Afghanistan, defying the Taliban to rescue Sohrab, the son of the friend he’d betrayed.
Amir went. He was brutally beaten, but he did rescue Sohrab and brought him back to live with him and his wife in California.
“A way to be good again.”
Was it? Can a good deed, no matter how heroic, ever undo an evil one? Can anything really outweigh the evil done before?
Not according to the Bible. “There is no one righteous . . . For all sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” and the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 3:10, 23; 6:23).
In other words, each of us is guilty of evil. And no amount of good will erase that. We still deserve the death penalty. It’s simply not good enough to better than average. It won’t make us guiltless if we manage to do more good than evil. We still “fall short.”
And, we cannot make ourselves good again. But God can: “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Romans 3:22).
The Kite Runner is heavy with shame and regret. Unfortunately, so are our lives. Like Amir, we may push memories of our betrayals to the edges of our minds. But they are still there, lurking in the shadows.
What we wouldn’t give for a way to be good again! How refreshing to feel clean, to be free of that gnawing sense of failure.
But, it’s not what we would give to be good again. It's what he gave. And what we’re willing to receive. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
There is a way to be good again. His name is Jesus.