Grace in defeat

Of his impending surrender to General Grant, General Robert E. Lee said…”I would rather die a thousand deaths.” But his previously unbeaten army now numbered but 6,000 poorly clad infantry, and 2,000 cavalry on spent and gaunt horses. Grant was upon him with 80,000 men. For the sake of his spent army, Lee humbly presented himself before Grant, to effect a surrender. Years later, he was in the presence of a pastor who railed bitterly against the North. He took the man aside, and said unto him, “Doctor, there is a good old book which I read, and you preach from, which says, ‘Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.’ Do you think your remarks this evening were quite in the spirit of that teaching?” To another who spoke bitterly of their former enemies, General Lee quoted the following: “Learn…to love thy foe, and store with pearls the hand that brings thee woe, Free (thyself) from base vindictive pride, Emblaze with gems the wrist that rends thy side…shall men do less than heal the smiter and the railer bless?” Those lines, he told the man, were written by a Muslim, and then he quietly asked, “Ought not we, who profess…to be Christians…rise at least to the standard of this…Muslim…and learn to forgive our enemies?” My dear friends, that is good doctrine. We must rise to the class of General Robert E. Lee, or to the class of a Mitt Romney, whose parting words last night (November 6, 2012) were, “I so wish…I so wish I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead this country…but this nation chose another leader. And so Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for him and this great nation.”