Monday, January 14, 2008

The Kite Runner

I read the book by Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner, some months ago, and was curious how the film version would turn out. I was not disappointed. I saw the movie today and thought it was a faithful, touching, and engaging translation of a wonderful book.

The main character of The Kite Runner is Amir, son of a well-to-do Afghan businessman. As a young boy Amir secretly betrays his best friend Hassan, the poor son of Amir's father's servant. For the rest of his life, Amir is paralyzed with guilt over his failure to protect his friend. At the same time, he resents Hassan. Amir's father inexplicably seems to prefer Hassan over him. Amir brings his father shame, not pride.

So Amir desperately wants the love of his father, but it eludes him. He does not operate from a foundation of grace, but of law . . . so he cannot face his failure and seek forgiveness for his wrongs. Instead, he tries to find atonement by putting Hassan down and coming out the winner.

There are lots of lessons to learn from this story. The message to parents is to make sure your kids know you are proud of them. Don't let them think you love them only when they're good, when they're at their best, and when they perform well. God's love is our model. Because God loved us when we were at our worst (i.e., the cross) - and loves us daily no matter how badly we mess up - we can face our failures with honesty and confidence. We don't have to win or put others down in order to build ourselves up. Amir's life would have been completely different if he had only admitted to Hassan how badly he had failed him. The way up is down. God gives grace to the humble, not to the proud.

Another message is the transforming power of redeeming grace. God loves to rescue hopeless people and situations. No one is hopeless. No problem is beyond God's repair. Fortunately, Amir chooses not to stay stuck in his sin. He decides to make something of his life by redeeming the life of his nephew. In this way Amir is a type of Christ. He gives up himself to save Sohrab, thus creating life out of death.

Even though the religion of Islam pervades the movie, The Kite Runner is really an illustration of how Jesus rescues us from our guilt and shame and makes us lovers of others. I loved it.


jason said...

i definitely agree with you on this one, mike. this is one of my all-time favorite books and i also found it to be a very faithful adaptation. you would probably like his follow-up novel to kite runner called a thousand splendid suns.

Mike said...

I've already started it!