Although it is difficult to tell by the modern roster of celebrities, fame was once a byproduct of true greatness and not mere novelty. Ernesto "Che" Guevara is the kind of man whose mystique and mythology is more hypnotic to me than any modern celebrity could hope to be. His renown is the result of an idealism so unwavering and active that it changed the face of Western politics in a matter of mere months. The world is still shaking from his legacy. An Argentinean doctor on a quest to discover an earthly cure for human suffering, Che met Fidel Castro in Mexico City and decided to help the Cuban revolutionary in his mission to overthrow his government and begin a Communistic way of life for the Cuban people. After a brilliant and successful guerrilla campaign, Che could have enjoyed the adoration of the public and the status of a statesman. Instead, his restless soul beckoned him to aid the Bolivian people in a similar endeavor, one to which he ultimately gave his life.
Politics and social ethics aside, I can't get over how dedicated this man was to the dignity of humanity. The motivation Christianity provides for such a passion is far more rooted than is Communism, yet here was a man who found within himself an intensity of conviction that I simply cannot muster despite my most sincere efforts. My temptation then becomes the desire to justify Che before God and man, partially because of my starry-eyed crush on the Argentinian and partly because if God is not pleased with a man of such selfless justice (methods aside) as Ernesto Guevara, then what hope do I have?
But this is something I must not do. Isaiah 64 tells us that all the righteousness of men is like filthy rags before a holy God. Not even the heroic life lived by a man like Che Guevara (or if you prefer the pacifist Gandhi, you're welcome to substitute) adds up to the perfect standard required for a relationship with Yahweh. This righteousness is only attainable for men by the blood of Jesus. Knowing that I now have this imputed righteousness, I can work out my salvation inspired by the examples of men greater than I, but releasing the anxiety of trying to add up to the goodness of Theresa or the passion of William Wallace. God's Kingdom will prevail. Human dignity will be restored. Justice will be served to the oppressed and their oppressors. Even the greatest men are in need of grace. We labor faithfully knowing that it is Christ who works in us and through us.
¡Viva La Revolución!