Results Matter by Jack Applebaum
By Jack Applebaum
October 9th of last year (2021) marked the 54th anniversary of the execution of Che Guevara in Bolivia. There is a very famous picture of Che that has become a commercial item (ironic for Communists and Capitalists alike), printed mostly on t-shirts. Many people wear the image without knowing his beliefs or objectives. Even for those who don’t know who Che was, I’m still fairly sure that you will recognize this picture or one of its variations.
According to Wikipedia, “the Maryland Institute College of Art called this picture the most famous photograph in the world and a symbol of the 20th century.”
For those who do know a bit about this man, what you may not have know is that he was a biker and deeply influenced by a ride on a 500 cc Indian that he took through most of South America (“The Motorcycle Diaries” by Che Guevara). Like C.S. Lewis who emerged a changed man from a ride in a sidecar, so did Che emerge from his ride with a deep commitment to act upon his experience. For the purposes of this writing, that is where the similarities end. C.S. Lewis became an apologist and follower of Christ. Che became a revolutionary and a follower of the gun.
Che’s life as a revolutionary was based on two premises. First, the majority of the people are impoverished and under exploitation. Second, the nature of men is basically good. Che’s conclusion was that an armed revolution would be required to free the people. Che was incredibly good at being a revolutionary until he got caught in Bolivia with the help of the CIA.
Che got my attention because of his experience as a biker. He had all of his senses open to the road. I can partially identify with Che on his first premise, with some key differences. The majority of people are, indeed, spiritually destitute and are being exploited by demonic forces. Regarding Che’s second premise, however, God’s Word clearly points out that man is not basically good. God’s Word is the polar opposite of Che’s (and many men’s) reasoning. Man needs redemption, not revolution. Jesus Christ does not call for armed conflict, but rather He calls us to love our enemies and to spread the message of God’s forgiveness.
The world seems to say “Man is basically good; take up arms.” God’s Word essentially says that man is sinful and to “take up your cross, and follow me.” You’d think the conclusions would be reversed. If man were basically good, why need or get a gun? Yet, God knows that our real battle wells up from within each of us instead of from external forces.
The results are vastly different as well. Communism has enslaved. Jesus Christ has set people free, despite their external circumstances and even within the controlling realms of communist states.
Sometimes, it really is the destination and not just the journey. A biker known as Che Guevara is dead and gone. Jesus is alive. Results matter.