Robert E Lee, a gentleman
“Thou therefore endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” 2 Tim 2:3 KJV
Probably more has been written about Robert E. Lee, than any other American soldier. Deeply respected by peers, leaders, and now by historians, warriors, and christians. Today. As Kingdom Men we focus on walking faith out in our lives, trying to pull lessons from the Bible and learning from the leaders who have gone before us.
How does a man like Lee, go from being one of the most respected US Army officers, who is offered command of the United States Army, but then elects to resign from the US Army and offers his services to the newly formed confederacy? The primary issue for Lee was “states rights” not slavery, and before and while doing that Lee pursued a very deep relationship with Christ. Lee actually freed his slaves during the war, while Union General Ulysses S Grant, kept his slave until after the war was over. Grant lived in Maryland a slave state, and thus the emancipation proclamation did not apply to his slaves, but only the states that had succeeded the union.
We see in Lee, a man who ends up on the wrong side of recorded history, yet always pursued his faith. Lee walked out faith in uniform and every facet of his life. Lee made his faith and prayer an active part of his life. He ordered all his troops that “habitually all duties, except those of inspection will be suspended during Sunday, to afford troops rest and to attend religious services”. Despite many hardships such as the loss of his daughter, and some of his most trusted friends and commanders( Lee trusted God in every situation, to include hiis military actions.
-Lee was a “born again man”, Lee said several times “ I can only say that I am nothing but a poor sinner, trusting in Christ alone for salvation”. Lee knew that salvation was not by going to church, and doing good things, but solely by the grace of God.
-Lee was an Episcopalian and actively promoted his church, and being active in the community. Lee went to church regularly believing Hebrews 10:25. He is reported to have always kneeled during prayer and wherever he was stationed or in battle would dismount his horse , and stop among his men during prayer services.
-Lee was very intentional and cared about his character, and being pleasing to God. Lee did not smoke, drink, curse, and avoided crude humor. Lee shared “I think it is better to do right, even if we suffer in doing, than to incur the reproach of our consciences and posterity”. Lee was willing to suffer for doing right, than do the easy or wrong thing and avoid criticism of others.
-After the civil war, Lee went to Lexington and became Washington College’s 11th President. Lee was the first American university president to introduce the concept of studying major and minors. But even more clearly he wrote “we have only one rule here – to act like a gentleman at all times”.
Today’s training: Robert E Lee was a Kingdom Man, and was not ashamed of Jesus or the bible. Lee feared God, trusted in grace for his salvation, supported his church, sought to share the gospel with others, and strived to keep a clean mind and heart. Those sound easy don’t they? So today when the work talk swings to gossiping, bad mouthing or disparaging those in authority over us, wasting time on social media while at work,etc; focus on your character and act with intentionality – to do what is right and be a gentleman.