General Lee was opposed to slavery. He called it a "moral evil." He never purchased a single slave and the slaves he inherited from his father-in-law, he freed. Which is more than can be said for the numerous Union generals who owned slaves. General Lee was also opposed to secession. He was offered the job commanding the Northern Army, but he declined because, as a Virginian, he could not bring himself to march an army against his home and his sons. Tell me: would you do differently? Would you take up arms against your family? Is that such a simple choice? Can you really not appreciate the complexity of the situation that General Lee faced?General Lee was widely respected on both sides. Read the accounts of his surrender at Appomattox to understand just how highly regarded he was by the men who actually did the fighting. He was one of the greatest Generals this country ever produced, and he was a man of honor and dignity. General Grant recognized that, his soldiers recognized that, Lincoln recognized it, yet we today, in modern times, cast him aside as a racist and a traitor. Disgraceful.We can talk about the political causes of the Civil War, but it cannot be disputed that the men who actually fought did so to protect their countries. Southerners considered their states to be their countries first. We may not understand that nowadays, but sometimes a bit of historical perspective is necessary. You know, the same historical perspective we afford to the slave-owning Founders, such as Jefferson, who not only owned slaves but desecrated the Bible and created his own. Yet we put these evils aside and build monuments to him. Can we not then put the Civil War in context and allow a great man like Robert E Lee to be remembered and honored, as both his compatriots and his enemies honored him?- Matt Walsh
A fairly common sight throughout the south is the image of Confederate General Robert E. Lee portrayed on t-shirts, bumperstickers, license plates, caps, etc. However, although Lee is one of the South's greatest heroes, it is very uncommon to find a southern man who knows very much about him as an individual. Historians have much to say about Lee's leadership qualities and his military genius, but they are far too silent about his greatest quality- the fact that he was a God-fearing Christian.
Lee's chaplain at Washington College once said, "If I ever came in contact with a sincere devout Christian- one who, seeing himself to be a sinner, trusted alone in the merits of Christ, who humbly tried to walk the path of duty, 'looking unto Jesus' as the author and finisher of his faith, and whose piety constantly exhibited itself in his daily life that man was Robert E. Lee." General Lee himself once said, "My chief concern is to try to be an humble, sincere Christian."
Yes, Robert E. Lee was a fine southerner, a great military commander, and a true gentleman, but why? What was it that made Lee such a man? The very source of his greatness is too often overlooked.
The Lord Jesus Christ was the source of General Lee's greatness. Robert E. Lee possessed that abundant life that Jesus spoke of in John 10:10: "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
By the grace of God, Lee graduated second in his class at West Point in 1829, and, to this very day, he is the only West Point graduate to never receive a single demerit. This high and noble honor came to Lee, not by accident, but because of the abundant life that he enjoyed through a personal walk with his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Lee was a man who never used profanity, and he often corrected those who did. He wouldn't tell or listen to a dirty joke, and, so far as we know, tobacco and alcohol never touched his lips. Friend, how would you like to be remembered in such a way? How would you like your children to say, "I never heard my father use a profane word" or "My grandfather was a godly Christian. Never once did I know him to smoke, chew tobacco, drink, or gamble."?
About the Bible itself, Lee once said, "There are things in the Old Book which I may not be able to explain, but I fully accept it as the infallible word of God, and receive its teachings as inspired by the Holy Spirit." Once another occasion he said, "In all my perplexities, the Bible has never failed to give me light and strength." Can you honestly make such statements? IS God's Word, the Bible, your source of light and strength? It certainly should be because Psalm 119:130 says, "The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple." Jesus said, "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4) Do you live by the word of God, or do you live after your own selfish desires?
Robert E. Lee was also a faithful church-going Christian. Regardless of the difficulties, even during the war years, Lee always did his best to attend worship services somewhere. Today the average man does his best to avoid every worship service possible! Being a Bible-believing Christian, General Lee was well aware of the truth found in Hebrews 10:25: "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." Friend, do you follow the godly example of Robert E. Lee, or do you set a bad example for others to follow?
Lee's battle strategy at Gettysburg turned out to be an utter failure, and over 50,000 Americans lost their lives. The humble general's response was, "I will take all the responsibility." He wasn't too proud to confess that his plans were lacking and that his decision to invade Pennsylvania led to further loss of life and suffering. Yet, today one must look far and wide to find men of character who will own up to their errors and take full responsibility for their actions. This is especially true in regards to personal salvation. Most men tend to think that they are basically good and that God will accept them because they aren't as wicked as they could be, not as wicked as some people. Yet, the Bible declares otherwise: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Friend, the Bible doesn't say that you are good. The Bible says that you are NO GOOD, and that you will die in your sins, and that you will be sentenced to a burning hell because you were too proud to confess that you were a sinner in need of salvation. Revelation 20:15 says, "And whosoever was no found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." The Bible doesn't say "whosoever wasn't good was cast into the lake of fire". The Bible says that your name must be written in the book of life in order for you to escape eternal damnation. Revelation 13:8 calls this book "the book of life of the Lamb." The Lamb, of course, is the Lord Jesus Christ, the one who shed His blood, died, was buried, and then rose again for you- so that you could receive Him and be saved. John 1:12 says, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." Just as you would reach out and receive a gift from someone, God wants you to reach out from your heart and receive Jesus Christ as your own Lord and Saviour. Romans 10:9-10 says, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
In General Lee's later years at Washington College, he spoke to his old chaplain friend and said, "Oh, doctor, if I could only know that all the young men in this college were good Christians, I should have nothing more to desire... Our great want is the revival which shall bring these young men to Christ.." Robert E. Lee wanted to see young men saved and living for God. In other words, he wanted to see men following his very own example. General Lee, a man who once refused to sell his name to a real estate company, would be heartbroken to see how his name and image si being misused today. Many southern men wear caps or t-shirts with Lee's image on them, yet they make no attempt to follow the godly example that he set for us all. Is this not hypocrisy?
Friend, this information was given to you by someone who cares for you, someone who wants your life to mean something for God, someone who wants you to have inner peace and joy that only Jesus Christ can give, someone who doesn't want you to end up in hell one day! Why not give up on yourself and receive Jesus today?
Romans 5:8-9 says, "But God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. You can be justified by the blood of Jesus Christ! All of your sins can be washed away, and you can start a whole new life! Revelation 1:5 says, "...Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood."
Consider the powerful words of Hebrews 9:14: "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" It says through the eternal spirit- if God's Spirit is speaking to your heart about salvation, then the blood of Jesus Christ is present and available to you right now. There is no other way to become a child of God and escape the damnation of hell. You must be born again (John 3:3) by God's Spirit, and this can only be done by being washed in the blood of Jesus Christ.
Romans 10:13 says, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Why not confess to God right now that you are a sinner, and ask him to wash all your sins away? Claim his word and trust him today.
- James L Melton