Introduction: After Saul relentlessly pursued David, God tested David by giving him the opportunity to kill Saul. David passed this test by forgiving and freeing Saul. David then submitted himself to Saul. David’s actions made possible his reconciliation with Saul. Through these events, God reveals seven steps for resolving conflicts. These include: (1) mercy, (2) forgiveness, (3) submission, (4) kindness, (5) faith, (6) confession of sin, and (7) peace.
First, although God used the Philistines to draw Saul away from David, Saul relentlessly pursued David after the Philistine threat subsided. He failed to show mercy toward David. Unlike Saul, God wants you to be merciful to those who have hurt you. Second, God tested David by giving him the opportunity to kill Saul when Saul went into a cave to relieve himself where David and his men were hiding. David forgave Saul for his many sins. Like David, God wants you to forgive those who have hurt you. Third, after freeing Saul, David prostrated himself and called Saul his lord. Like David, God wants you to submit your pride to others to resolve conflict. Fourth, instead of confronting Saul for his many sins, David showed kindness to Saul by suggesting that Saul had received bad advice from his advisors. Like David, God wants you to be kind and gentle as you seek to restore those caught in sin. Fifth, David told Saul that he would leave it to God to avenge him from any harm against him. Like David, God wants you to have faith and trust Him to avenge any wrongs against you. Sixth, after realizing his sins, Saul confessed his sins to David. Like Saul, God wants you to resolve conflict with others by confessing your sins to those whom you have hurt. Finally, after confessing his sins, Saul sought to enter into a covenant with David to protect his descendants after David became king. Like Saul, God wants you to ensure that you maintain the peace with others after being reconciled.
Saul’s failure to show mercy in his relentless pursuit of David. Even after God used the Philistines to draw Saul away from David, Saul relentlessly hunted David down as soon as the Philistine threat had passed: “1 Now when Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, saying, ‘Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.’ 2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel and went to seek David and his men in front of the Rocks of the Wild Goats.” (1 Sam. 24:1-2). David had just used his force of 600 men to free the Keilahites from Philistine oppression after Saul ignored their calls for help. Saul then tried to kill or capture David and his men when they exposed themselves by helping the Keilahites (1 Sam. 23:1-14). While hiding in the wilderness of Ziph, the Ziphites betrayed David in an effort to curry favor with Saul (1 Sam. 23:19-23). Just when it seemed that Saul would capture David, God intervened supernaturally by causing the Philistines to attack Saul in a different part of Israel. David called the place where God delivered him the “Rock of Escape.” (1 Sam. 23:24-29). But Saul’s jealousy and anger would not allow him to let go of David. Thus, he resumed his pursuit of David as soon as he could. At this point, Saul chased David to a set of canyons with many caves to the west of the Dead Sea. Like Saul, there are many who are controlled by jealousy, anger, and rage. They pursue their enemies without mercy.
Be merciful as God has shown mercy to you. Just as God shows you mercy, He wants you to show mercy to others. “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Lk. 6:36). “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.” (Lk. 6:37). “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.” (Matt. 7:1). “But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.” (Ro. 14:10). “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Cor. 5:10). Are you merciful to your enemies?
David refuses to harm Saul when given the chance and also stops his men from doing so. God tested David’s heart by delivering Saul to him and giving David an opportunity to kill Saul. But David forgave Saul and even prevented his men from harming Saul: “3 He came to the sheepfolds on the way, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the inner recesses of the cave. 4 The men of David said to him, ‘Behold, this is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold; I am about to give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it seems good to you.’’ Then David arose and cut off the edge of Saul’s robe secretly. 5 It came about afterward that David’s conscience bothered him because he had cut off the edge of Saul’s robe. 6 So he said to his men, ‘Far be it from me because of the Lord that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, since he is the Lord’s anointed.’ 7 David persuaded his men with these words and did not allow them to rise up against Saul. And Saul arose, left the cave, and went on his way.” (1 Sam. 24:3-7). The cave where David hid had many smaller caves within it that David’s men used to conceal themselves. When Saul went into this cave to relieve himself, he placed his royal coat on a rock. This allowed David to cut the coat without Saul realizing it. David could have acted like the judge or deliver Ehud when he killed the Moabite King Eglon. Ehud killed the king in his quarters and then escaped after he left the dead king’s body locked in a royal bathroom. The servants feared checking on the king in case he was using the bathroom (Jdgs. 3:12-31). Yet, he instead forgave his relentless enemy.
David prevented his men from killing Saul1
David then secretly cut the corner of Saul’s robe2
Forgive those who have hurt you. As a role model for all believers, Jesus forgave those who crucified Him while He hung on the cross dying a painful death. ‘But Jesus was saying, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’” (Lk. 23:24(a)). Just as David and later Jesus forgave those who hurt them, you too are called upon to forgive those who have hurt you: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matt. 5:7). “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.” (Lk. 6:37). “A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression.” (Prov. 19:11). “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Eph. 4:32). “bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.” (Col. 3:13). Is there anyone you need to forgive?
Forgiveness should be granted liberally and often. David could have said that the sins against him were too big to forgive. But Jesus warned that you should grant forgiveness liberally and often: “Then Peter came and said to Him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’” (Matt. 18:21-22). If someone has committed an unforgivable sin against you or a loved one, Jesus still calls upon you to forgive. When you forgive the unforgivable, you too will release your pent-up pain.
God will forgive your sins when you forgive others. Jesus also warns that you must forgive others to be able to receive God the Father’s forgiveness: “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” (Matt. 6:14-15). “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.” (Mk. 11:26). Thus, if you are looking for God’s forgiveness, don’t delay in forgiving others.
Don’t engage in the Devil’s tactics to fulfill what you believe is right. The Bible warns that believers should “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Prov. 3:5). As one commentator notes: “David decided to spare Saul because he knew that God’s promise said, ‘You will inherit the throne of Israel.’ He knew that Saul was in the way of that promise. But he also knew it was disobedient of him to kill Saul, because God put Saul in a position of authority and it was God’s job to take care of Saul not David’s. David wanted the promise to be fulfilled but he refused to try and fulfill God’s promise through his own disobedience. Sometimes when we have a promise from God we think we are justified in sinning to pursue that promise. This is always wrong. God will fulfill His promises, but He will do it His way, and do it righteously. Instead, we need to be like Abraham, who obeyed God even when it seemed to be at the expense of God’s promise, willing to sacrifice the son of promise (Genesis 22). Even more, we need to be like Jesus, who didn’t take Satan’s offer to ‘win back the world’ at the expense of obedience (Luke 4:5-8).” (David Guzik on 1 Sam. 24).3
Don’t look to your situation to discern God’s will. David could have assumed that it was God’s will to kill Saul because God brought him there. Yet, doing so would have meant relying upon what seemed right instead of God’s Word. Another commentator observes: “David’s men (1 Samuel 24:4), much like Saul (1 Samuel 23:7), discern God’s will on the basis of favorable circumstances: God gives them the opportunity to kill Saul, and thus it must be God’s will for them to do so. David discerns God’s will on principle. He chooses to fight Goliath, not because it looks as though he is sure to win (though he does have this certainty, no one else does), but because this man is blaspheming God. David is not willing to take advantage of his circumstances because he is thinking like a spiritual leader, thinking in terms of the sovereignty of God, suffering as a part of God’s will and servanthood. I see much less of David’s discernment of God’s will today than I do of Saul’s or of David’s men. I hear many Christians think and teach that suffering is not God’s will, and that true faith will be rewarded by immediate blessing and the absence of pain. I find that many discern God’s will by looking only at favorable circumstances, rather than living by faith in God’s word, and not by sight. I see many Christians getting their guidance from other misguided Christians, rather than standing alone on biblical principles. Let us be like David in this regard, and not like his men who only want to end the pain by killing God’s anointed.” (Robert L. (Bob) Deffinbaugh “21. A Time to Kill, or Not” (1 Samuel 24:1-22)).4
David submits to Saul as his king. After forgiving Saul and sparing his life, David submitted in obedience to Saul as his king. “8 Now afterward David arose and went out of the cave and called after Saul, saying, ‘My lord the king!’ And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the ground and prostrated himself.” (1 Sam. 24:8). David considered Saul greater than himself by calling him “My lord the king.” He submitted to Saul at great risk to himself. Saul could have killed him or had him arrested. David trusted in God by doing what was right, and God protected him.
Submit to God’s appointed leaders. David knew that God expects order. Thus, his conscious bothered him merely for cutting off the corner of the king’s robe (1 Sam. 24:5). This was a royal act of vandalism that Saul could have easily punished. Vandalism in any context is not something that God normally condones. Unless a leader is engaged in evil, God commands that we submit to His appointed leaders. “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.” (Ro. 13:1-2). Rebellion to God is no better than witchcraft (1 Sam. 15:23). His leaders are His “avengers” against injustice (Rom. 13:4). They also are supposed to “watch out for your souls.” (Heb. 13:17). First, you submit to Him through his Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:14), His Word (2 Tim. 3:16), and His church leadership (Matt. 18:17-20; Heb. 13:17). Second, you submit to Him through your civil authorities (1 Pet. 2:13-14; Rom. 13:1-2). Third, you submit to His family order (Eph. 5:22-25; 6:10). Only when your authorities refuse to follow His Word can you ignore them (Acts. 4:19). Both the leaders and the people are commanded to obey Jesus’ Word and His Commandments. Jesus is the great “I AM” who gave Moses the Ten Commandments (Ex. 3:14; Jo. 8:58). Although you are no longer judged under the Law, Jesus reveals that you show your love for Him when you keep His Commandments voluntarily: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (Jo. 14:15, 21; 1 Jo. 5:3; 2 Jo. 1:6; Jo. 15:10; Matt. 19:17). Whether you keep His Commandments out of love (and not obligation) is also the test regarding whether you “know” Him: “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.” (1 Jo. 2:3). If your leaders are following God’s Word, are you submitting to them? If they are rebelling, are you praying for them to repent and be restored to their appointed roles?
Christ submitted on the cross, even for His enemies. Like David, Jesus was willing to sacrifice Himself for others. He “emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Phil. 2:7-8). “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” (Jo. 10:11). “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.” (Jo. 10:18). He willingly died for all, even for His enemies (Ro. 5:10).
Sacrifice your needs for the needs of others. The great leaders in the Bible sacrificed their needs for others. Moses offered to have his name blotted out of the book of life to save the Jews from their judgment in building the golden calf: “But now, if You will, forgive their sin-- and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!” (Ex. 32:32). Paul also wished that he could become cursed if doing so could save his brethren: “For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh,” (Ro. 9:3). “But if he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge that to my account; I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand, I will repay it (not to mention to you that you owe to me even your own self as well).” (Philemon 1:18-9). “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Phil. 2:3-4). Do you place the interests of others whom you do not love or even like before your own needs?
Allow God to humble you so that He can also exalt you without pride. God humbled David so that He could later exalt him as king of all of Israel. He also wants you to allow Him to humble you through your suffering so that He can exalt you in heaven alongside Him without any pride. “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Matt. 23:12; Lk. 14:11; 18:14). “He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble.” (Lk. 1:52). “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (Ja. 4:10). “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,” (1 Pet. 5:6). “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matt. 5:5; KJV). Your suffering is one way for God to humble you. Are you humble so that He can exalt you without pride?
When you suffer as a faithful servant, you also will find God’s favor. Like David, believers are called upon to faithfully serve even the undeserving. When you suffer as a faithful servant, you too will find God’s favor: “Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,” (1 Pet. 2:18-21). “Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ;” (Eph. 6:5). “Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.” (Col. 3:22). “All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against.” (1 Tim. 6:1). “Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.” (Tit. 2:9-10). Even if you suffer under a mean supervisor, will you be a faithful employee and witness?
When you suffer for Him, God will also prosper you, yet not always financially. God promises to bless those who faithfully serve without the promise of a reward. God previously “prospered” David as a servant, even when he in fact had few possessions: “David was prospering in all his ways for the LORD was with him. When Saul saw that he was prospering greatly, he dreaded him.” (1 Sam. 18:14-5). God’s blessings to Joshua also were not financial: “So the LORD was with Joshua, and his fame was in all the land.” (Josh. 6:27). His prosperity brings the peace and joy of the Spirit and eternal life: “He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” (Ps. 1:3). “For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.” (Jer. 17:8). “The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, he will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.” (Ps. 92:12). When you suffer for God, He will also bless you.
David shelters Saul from the blame for his own actions. Instead of rebuking Saul, David gently tried to sway Saul from his sins by blaming Saul’s advisors for giving him bad advice: “9 David said to Saul, ‘Why do you listen to the words of men, saying, ‘Behold, David seeks to harm you’?” (1 Sam. 24:9). If David had allowed his flesh to control him, he would have lashed out at Saul and blamed him for acting foolishly.
Restore others in a spirit of gentleness. Like David, you are called upon to restore a sinner through love and kindness: “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.” (Gal. 6:1). “Let the righteous smite me in kindness and reprove me; it is oil upon the head; do not let my head refuse it, for still my prayer is against their wicked deeds.” (Ps. 141:5). “with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,” (2 Tim. 2:25). Like David, do you convict sinners with a spirit of gentleness? Or, when someone sins, do you scold them out of anger and bring them down?
Kindness will help to convict a sinner of his or her sins. David’s kindness to Saul later brought about Saul’s conviction of his sins: “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” (Ro. 12:20; Prov. 25:21). “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (Matt. 5:44). “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (Jo. 13:34). Will you show love and kindness toward your enemies to convict them of their sins?
David gives to God the responsibility for judging Saul’s sins. David had faith that God would avenge any wrongs that Saul or others had done to him. “10 Behold, this day your eyes have seen that the Lord had given you today into my hand in the cave, and some said to kill you, but my eye had pity on you; and I said, ‘I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed.’ 11 Now, my father, see! Indeed, see the edge of your robe in my hand! For in that I cut off the edge of your robe and did not kill you, know and perceive that there is no evil or rebellion in my hands, and I have not sinned against you, though you are lying in wait for my life to take it. 12 May the Lord judge between you and me, and may the Lord avenge me on you; but my hand shall not be against you. 13 As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Out of the wicked comes forth wickedness’; but my hand shall not be against you. 14 After whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom are you pursuing? A dead dog, a single flea? 15 The Lord therefore be judge and decide between you and me; and may He see and plead my cause and deliver me from your hand.’” (1 Sam. 24:10-15). Because David trusted that God was in control of all things, it was easier for him to let go of Saul’s many sins against him. He even called Saul his “father,” a title that he did not deserve (1 Sam. 24:11). David’s actions were further a symbolic fulfillment of Samuel’s prior judgment of Saul that his kingdom had been “torn” from him due to his disobedience (1 Sam. 15:27-28).
David humbled himself before Saul to obtain reconciliation5
Allow God to avenge any wrongs against you. David quoted an ancient proverb “Out of the wicked comes forth wickedness.’” (1 Sam. 24:13). He trusted God to avenge him of any wrongs that Saul or others had done to him. David later wrote in a psalm “A Psalm of David. Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me.” (Ps. 35:1). God wants you to follow in David’s example. “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.” (Lev. 19:18). “Do not say, ‘I will repay evil’; wait for the LORD, and He will save you.” (Prov. 20:22; 24:29). “But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” (Matt. 5:39; Lk. 6:29). “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.” (Ro. 12:17). “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘vengeance is mine, I will repay’ says the Lord.” (Ro. 12:19). Do you leave your vengeance to God?
Saul confesses his sins against David. Having been won over by David’s humility, kindness, and submission, Saul was convicted of sins and confessed them to David: “16 When David had finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, ‘Is this your voice, my son David?’ Then Saul lifted up his voice and wept. 17 He said to David, ‘You are more righteous than I; for you have dealt well with me, while I have dealt wickedly with you. 18 You have declared today that you have done good to me, that the Lord delivered me into your hand and yet you did not kill me. 19 For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away safely? May the Lord therefore reward you with good in return for what you have done to me this day.” (1 Sam. 24:16-19). After confessing his sins, Saul wept and called David “my son.” (1 Sam. 24:16). David’s kindness had restored his place within Saul’s family. Saul then forgave David of any perceived offense that came from his own jealousy and insecurity. God wants you to follow Saul’s example.
Confess your sins to those whom you have wronged. After Judah realized his sins against his daughter-in-law Tamar, he made a similar confession: “Judah recognized them, and said, ‘She is more righteous than I, . .”’ (Gen. 38:26). Like Judah and Saul, God wants you to confess your sins to others: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.” (Jam. 5:16(a)). The confession of sin is a central principle of the Christian faith. John baptized believers only as they confessed their sins: “and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.” (Matt. 3:6, 11). If you confess your sins, God will forgive you. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jo. 1:9). What sins do you need to confess?
Saul and David establish a peace accord. After being reconciled to each other, Saul and David formed a peace accord to prohibit harm to each other or their descendants: “20 Now, behold, I know that you will surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hand. 21 So now swear to me by the Lord that you will not cut off my descendants after me and that you will not destroy my name from my father’s household.’ 22 David swore to Saul. And Saul went to his home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.” (1 Sam. 24:20-22). Through the Holy Spirit, Saul always knew that David was God’s choice to be the next anointed king. Samuel previously told Saul that his kingdom would not endure (1 Sam. 13:14). After Saul refused to repent, Samuel then told him that God had rejected him as Israel’s king (1 Sam. 15:26). For these reasons, Saul told Jonathan that he would never become king if David lived (1 Sam. 20:31). Now, he could no longer deny the truth (1 Sam. 23:17). In the Middle East, it was common at that time for new kings to kill off other potential heirs to the throne (c.f., 2 Kgs. 10:11; 15-17; 11:1). David had already formed a covenant with Jonathan to protect Jonathan’s descendants (1 Sam. 20:13-16). This new covenant expanded the protection to include all of Saul’s descendants. When you are reconciled to an adversary, God also wants you to take steps to ensure that you maintain the peace. A temporary peace that returns back to conflict is no peace at all.
Saul reconciled with David6
Avoid strife and be at peace with others. Like Saul and David, God blesses those who pursue peace and unity with their brothers and sisters in faith: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” (Ps. 133:1(b)). “The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so abandon the quarrel before it breaks out.” (Prov. 17:14). “Keeping away from strife is an honor for a man, . . .” (Prov. 20:3). “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” (Ro. 12:18). “So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” (Ro. 14:19). When others hurt you or try to take things belonging to you, do you seek peace or retribution and conflict?
Put the needs of others before your needs. Like Saul and David, you also walk in faith when you put the needs of others before yourself: “Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.” (1 Cor. 10:24). “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Phil. 2:3-4; Matt. 5:40). Do you put your own needs in front of others?
Forgiveness does not prohibit you from verifying that a change is real. Saul had previously agreed to forgive David (1 Sam. 19:17). But he quickly broke his vow. Thus, David was right to keep his distance. Even Jesus warned believers to be careful when dealing with worldly people: “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matt. 10:16; Lk. 10:3). Thus, when you forgive someone, you are not required to immediately place yourself in a setting where you can be hurt again. You may first verify that the change is genuine.