After reading the post, Living with Integrity, a friend asked me to share my thoughts on the following:

My mother (a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan) did not watch any Steelers games this season. Pittsburgh hired Michael Vick a convicted animal abuser. She is very upset he is there but stuck to what she said. Not a slavery issue but still a moral issue. The problem with justice served though is forgiveness. She hasn’t forgiven Vick.

This is a wonderful example of exactly what I want to illustrate.

First, let’s consider the idea of being upset with Vick (or pick your favorite “villain”). We spend so much of our emotion energy being angry with people who have no clue we are even upset!  In some cases (like this one), the person may not even know we exist!  So, to summary, we find ourselves mad at Person and Person does not know we are mad.

Is this emotional energy really accomplishing anything?

We tend to live in this mass delusion that someone has to ask forgiveness from us before we can forgive them. If they don’t even know we exist, this is not very likely to happy.  Consider the alternative.

Forgive eagerly. Do not wait for an apology (there’s a good chance it will never come).

Consider, for a moment, the cost.

Holding onto anger builds resentment. When I am harboring anger, it tends to spill out all over the place.  It sloshes onto our loved ones, drips all over our work, and stains our professional interactions.

Resentment can give way to bitterness where we are just a little less us and a little more angry. Our hearts become a little more cold and indifferent to the world.

That doesn’t sound too beneficial. Letting go, forgiving others, and having peace in our spirits sounds much better.  That doesn’t mean it’s easy…that’s why we’ve been talking about driftwood lately.

Second, forgiving others does not mean that you have to support their bad habits. If you have a family member with an alcohol problem, you might not be angry with them, but you surely are not going to support their addiction.

This is why you vote with your dollars (or, when you are the product, your eyeballs).

My Starbucks gold membership just lapsed…after many loyal years. Beyond cutting back on drinking coffee, I have decided to direct my funds to local coffee shops.  Why?  I was not comfortable with the way that company was spending their money.  As a company, they are free to do as they see fit – that is completely their choice.

I am not upset about red coffee cups that don’t say Merry Christmas. I don’t care that they are open on Christmas.  I don’t care if the barista misspelled my name.  And I certainly can’t fault them for doing these things and getting the great, viral buzz!

But, all things considered, I have stopped giving them my money (or even drinking their coffee if someone else is buying). Here’s the thing, I would not give my money directly to some of the causes they support.  And, even if a fraction of a cent of one of my purchases is going to these causes, that’s too much for me.

Again, I am not angry with them, but I am choosing to spend my dollars elsewhere. (And I am not mad at anyone who gives them their money.  This is just a personal choice I’ve made for me.  In fact, my wife and I are not in 100% agreement on the issue!)

Should we turn off the television so we aren’t supporting someone’s bad habits? Perhaps.  Should we be angry with them for their decisions?  Maybe not.