In many ways, country music is America’s soundtrack because its lyrics capture everyday life in all its forms, including the good, the bad and the ugly.
I was reminded of that this past week when I heard about a provocative and controversial tweet from country music star Blake Shelton. Reports are suggesting it was a veiled shot at his ex-wife, Miranda Lambert:
The tweet says: “Been taking the high road for a long time.. I almost gave up. But I can finally see something on the horizon up there!! Wait!! Could it be?! Yep!! It’s karma!!”
Shelton and Lambert divorced in 2015. Though the country music duo has been quiet on details surrounding their marital dissolution, Shelton has hinted it was due to Miranda Lambert’s infidelity.
According to reports, Wednesday’s tweet referred to recent news of relationship drama and dysfunction in his ex-wife’s life.
“When you have a broken heart – at least, when I do,” Shelton recently said, “you got to get it out of your system. You want people to sympathize with you. I was at rock bottom, in the middle of hell.”
I can relate to Blake Shelton’s raw admission of emotional pain and heartbreak.
Back in 2000, my wife of 17 years cheated on me. It was a stunning blow. We are both Christians and active members in our church. She said she simply fell out of love with me and in love with another man.
That was it. Game over. Thanks for playing.
I was devastated. And bitter, much like what I suspect Blake Shelton has been going through these last few years. It’s probably why he tweeted what he did this past week.
I don’t blame him.
At the time of my wife’s infidelity, our son was 7 years old, an innocent victim in our relationship drama and dysfunction. For the next 12 years, though my wife had cheated on me, I paid child support and was robbed of half of my son’s childhood.
Sadly, divorce and infidelity are raging epidemics in America. There are reasons behind every one of them, some complicated, some not. Most victims suffer in silence, either because of embarrassment, emotional paralysis – or a combination of both.
The late writer Pat Conroy may have captured it best when he observed that “every divorce is the death of a small civilization.” He was absolutely right.
By God’s grace, I was able to recover from my divorce, though it took years. In time, I married again, to a wonderful and beautiful woman. My relationship with my adult son is now healthy and strong.
I even came to forgive my ex-wife. Here’s how.
Early in the midst of my bitterness, when I was angry and revenge-minded, someone gave me some terrific advice. “You need to make sure you have desert tree roots of bitterness, not oak tree roots of bitterness,” he told me.
In other words, it’s normal to be bitter – but if you let it fester and take hold like a giant tree in the forest, you’re never going to bounce back and enjoy your life.
I was made aware of the three levels of forgiveness. That term – forgiveness – is so easily and often thrown around these days. We often think of forgiveness as a single act, but true dispensation is a process that comes in parts – and can take a lot of time.
First, I finally arrived at a point where I didn’t wish to emotionally hurt my ex-wife and her new husband.
In my initial bitterness, I used to try and craft pithy and pointed retorts in conversation or correspondence. I wanted my words to sting. I wanted them to feel guilty. In time, I was able to get over this need for revenge.
Second, I finally arrived at a point where I didn’t want outside harm to come to them.
Early on, I used to hope their relationship would implode or that they’d suffer some financial reversal. I wanted them to realize the decision to divorce their respective spouses was a big mistake. Eventually, I was able to let go of those sinful feelings.
Third, I finally arrived at a point where I could pray for them.
“Can you pray that God will bless them?” a friend once asked me. Indeed, I reached that point. It was actually liberating. I continue to pray for them.
Ironically, it was when I forgave them that my own marriage to my new wife really began to flourish. No longer burdened by the weight of bitterness, I felt freer than ever before. I hope Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert find that same freedom.