Dorothy Valcarcel Devotional - Transformation Gardens Devotions for Women
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Transformation Garden - June 24, 2010

  • 2010 Jun 24


"David said to Michal, "It was before the Lord, Who chose me above your father and all his house to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the Lord. Therefore will I make merry in pure enjoyment before the Lord.'" 
II Samuel 6: 21
Amplified Bible


"It's Time To Play ‘Tit-For-Tat'"

"Civility costs nothing, and buys everything." 
Lady Mary Wortley Montague

Have I ever played ‘Tit-for-Tat' with someone, trying to get back at them for something they did to me?

How has being polite, even in difficult circumstances, made things in my life run smoother?

"True politeness is to social life what oil is to machinery, a thing to oil the ruts and grooves of existence." 
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper


"Perhaps among the more simple causes of domestic infelicity (unhappiness), lack of ordinary politeness stands at the head." 
Dr. F. L. S. Aldrich

We have a saying here in the United States, "Tit for tat is fair play." In the Chinese language, this phrase goes something like this: "I will not attack unless I am attacked; if I am attacked, I will certainly counter-attack."

The bottom line in these phrases like the ones above is that we focus on paying someone back for what they did or as one person calls it, "Precise retaliation."

It is thought that the original phrase was ‘tip for tap' meaning ‘a blow for a blow' and that it was corrupted to ‘tit for tat'.  No matter where this phrase came from, the result is the same! You do something to me - I will retaliate and do something to you.

In the case of Michal and David, if you say something hurtful to me, I will say something hurtful to you. Just like little kids, these two adults started a duel. Michal scornfully looked down on David and spoke mockingly to him, and in return, David just had to take a jab at Michal and remind her that God had chosen him to be king, taking the royal lineage away from her family. And as a way to stick in the knife and twist it, David said in II Samuel 6: 22 that if Michal thought people would look down on him for the way he acted, she was wrong. In fact, the maids would only honor David even more.

Rather than build up his wife and try and encourage her at a time in her life when she had lost her father and brothers in war and then was forced to leave a man who obviously loved her for a man who had a harem full of wives and concubines, David put Michal down. He demeaned not only her, but her family and then to add a little gravy on top of his poisonous buffet, he reminded Michal that the maidens in the nation adored him, too. What an ego!  And what an impolite person.

Let's just say for discussion's sake that David didn't love Michal (he sure didn't act like he did!). Even if that were the case, and he married her only because it was a politically wise hook-up, David, in a gesture of kindly, politeness could have taken a moment to reflect on how his behavior in ordering Michal back to his home might have caused her a great deal of heartache and so he could have softened his response and shown he was a real man of God. But no, David had to get in the last word and puff himself up by throwing it in Michal's face that her family was no longer in charge and he was the "fair haired boy" of the women in the nation.

While Michal didn't have to be so mocking of David when he came home, I'm extremely sympathetic to a woman who was dragged away from a man who loved her, only to be tossed into a house with a bunch of other women and children. And I want us to remember this scene for if you think David got away with this disrespectful behavior and his impolite treatment of women, let me tell you, he did not!

He paid big time in the lives of his children for his pompous ways. The author, Mary Wilson Little in her book, A Paragrapher's Reverie, comments that, "Politeness may be nothing but veneering, but a veneered slab has the advantage of being without splinters." I don't believe the quality of politeness could be described more effectively. Even if David were king and felt that his power and position gave him the right to act toward Michal as he did, an act of politeness to Michal would and could have spoken more within his household. I've seen, in a very personal way, how impolite and rude responses from children toward parents have come back to boomerang on the very children, who when grown, had their own children talk to them in the same disrespectful and impolite way they had heard their parents speak.

It is interesting to me that Solomon, David's son, who grew up most likely in an environment strewn with the hostility that comes from multiple wives and children, was the person who left this advice for us in the Proverbs about the way we speak; "A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger." (Proverbs 15: 1 Amplified Bible).

David should have used a soft response before he decided to play ‘tit-for-tat'. Who knows what the positive result might have been!

"Be polite. Perhaps your family won't mind if you practice on them." 
Minna Thomas Antrim


"O God, give us patience when those who are wicked hurt us. O how impatient and (impolite) we are when we think ourselves unjustly slandered, reviled and hurt! Christ suffers blows upon His cheek, the innocent for the guilty; yet we may not abide one rough word for His sake, O Lord, grant us virtue and patience, power and strength, that we may take all adversity with goodwill, and with a gentle mind overcome it. And if necessity and Thy honor require us to speak, grant that we may do so with meekness and patience, that the truth and Thy glory may be defended, and our patience and steadfast continuance perceived." 
Miles Coverdale 

Your friend, 
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus

P.S.  My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at,, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian.  You can also go to and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.

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