When People Throw Your Failures in Your Face

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What do you do when someone throws your worst quality in your face? I’m sure it’s happened to all of us at one time or another. Statements like these:

Whitney is not patient. I can’t see her doing well with children.

You are going to have to learn to be more flexible and relax a little bit.

Whitney is not teachable.

You will raise your voice to your kids, it’s going to happen.

All of those things were said directly to me or to my husband, about me, recently. It’s not fun to have your weaknesses thrown in your face, especially when you’re already acutely aware of them.

Occasionally we might have a godly mentor who lovingly helps us see our blind spots. What I’m talking about today are the times when people make these kinds of comments behind our backs or to our faces, just for the sake of pointing them out.

It can come from a family member, a friend, or even someone you just met. Whatever the source, it can be a tough thing to deal with.

Here’s what I’m learning to do when I’m confronted by my own failures.

1 – Acknowledge my own spiritual poverty

I don’t come to God with my tank half full of my goodness and just ask him to fill me the rest of the way up. I come completely empty. Any good that comes out of me is only because of Jesus.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he richly poured out on us with all wisdom and understanding. (Ephesians 1:7-8)

When I can really grasp both my spiritual poverty and the riches of God’s grace, I can respond to those kinds of accusations differently.

When someone reminds me that I’ll have a hard time being a patient parent, I can truthfully say, “You’re absolutely right. I’m so impatient and on my own I know I will blow it many, many times. That’s why I’m so thankful that God is patient and longsuffering with me. He will help me to acknowledge my sin before my children and in so doing, I can point them to him. He’s the only one who will never be impatient with them.”

2 – Consider Jesus

Jesus was criticized and heckled everywhere he went. In Mark 7 it seems to indicate that the Pharisees and scribes traveled a long distance just to point out that his disciples were eating with unwashed hands.

Jesus lived a perfect life, and yet people found things to criticize and complain about. How then could I be so self-righteous to think that people will find no fault with me, a flawed (yet forgiven) sinner?

Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him who endured such hostility from sinners against himself, so that you won’t grow weary and give up. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

In considering Jesus, we find comfort and encouragement. I have found that in my lowest moments of difficulty when I felt isolated and misunderstood by people I trusted, I felt the presence of Jesus more than ever before. What a precious place to be!

“Much to my benefit, God doesn’t instantly change the people or hardships in my life. If He did, I wouldn’t know the joy of experiencing Him through truly dark times. In our pauses, God gets personal and we get the privilege of knowing Him personally.” (Wendy Pope, Wait and See)

3 – Move on

This is the hardest part for me, and it might be the hardest for you, too.

One option is to just laugh about it. When I heard that someone thought I was unteachable, I had to chuckle because it came from someone I’ve known a long time. How are they just now realizing this? It’s one of my defining qualities! Ha.

Another option, especially if someone brings up a fault to your face, is to ask them to pray for you about that issue. If they say, “You’re going to have to work on being ______” you can respond with, “You’re probably right. Hey, would you pray for me about that?”

Even if they’re wrong and it’s not something I need to work on, maybe they will actually pray about it. That can’t hurt anything, can it?

Read More: The Glory of Overlooking Offenses

What if we allowed those painful moments to help us be more compassionate and encouraging toward others? I want to be someone who injects life and encouragement into someone and not the kind of person who leaves people deflated and discouraged. We can do that by pointing them toward the Giver of life – Jesus!

Not long after I had one of those difficult things said to me, a sweet friend of mine shared her excitement about our upcoming adoption. She said, “I’m just so overwhelmed with how God is going to use you! You can just show those children God’s love and that will make such a difference in their lives.”

She had no idea how life-giving that was for me to hear. She pointed right past my shortcomings and directed me to the hope of my salvation. What a sweet blessing!

Read More: How to Glorify God in Your Conversations

I have to wrap up this post by reminding you that anything good in me is only because of God’s grace in my life and God’s Word in my heart. The steps I shared in this post came directly from things I learned through my daily Bible reading.

We all need God’s wisdom and especially so when we’re caught off guard or our hearts are hurting. Godly wisdom is so often the complete opposite of my natural response. I’m so thankful that God’s Word helps me to correct my thinking and that the Holy Spirit enables me to apply those things to my life.

Why did I write this post? I wrote it with the hope that the things God is teaching me will help you to navigate this experience when it arises in your life, as I’m sure it will at some point. We all face these times when our failures are not so lovingly thrown in our faces. There is grace for every moment, and it’s found in Jesus. ❤


15 thoughts on “When People Throw Your Failures in Your Face

  1. I am sorry these things were said about you. Of course, I don’t personally know you but from following your journey online I would say the opposite about you! And moving on is the hardest part but once you’re past it, you’ll feel so much better.


  2. I heard a pastor say once when people don’t know what to say, they open their mouth and prove it. I often think of that when I hear hurtful or scary things, especially if they’re in tender areas of my own heart. Such a good post – we all struggle with sin. Praise God for His Word, His Spirit, forgiveness and being “washed by the Word” to keep a right heart and not grow bitter. Blessings!


    1. You’re exactly right – and that is a good quote to keep in mind both as a listener and a speaker. It reminds me of Proverbs 10:19, When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. Thanks for your encouragement, Vickie!


  3. I’m sorry for your recent rude encounters. People are blunt and oftentimes missing a filter. Children change everyone. We always joke that going from 0 to 1 kid was our biggest transition. Everything changes when you add kids to the mix. Some things are easy changes (adding in fun holiday traditions or sharing things you love with your kids) and other things take time to change (patience, being flexible and setting the tone for your family have all been things I’ve had to learn to be better at). All parents change and grow with their kids. Be encouraged that changes are coming and God is leading the way in your lives. You can do it, friend!!


    1. Thank you for your kindness and your encouragement! God has used you to strengthen my heart as I learn to respond to those things. You’re right – the transition from 0 to any number of children will be a HUGE one. Thanks for the encouragement! ❤


  4. I’m sorry you had to hear these remarks directly or indirectly. I know we don’t know each other personally, but I have learned so much from you, and I think it’s precisely because you walk with a teachable, God honoring heart. I have no doubt you’ll be such a blessing to your children, and they will bless you as well. If being perfect was a prerequisite to parenting, no one would get to do it. God gives grace for us all. Thank you for that beautiful reminder.


  5. Praying God gives you the strength you need to navigate this season of life. God has laid adoption on your hearts for a reason. He didn’t pick you both for your perfection, He picked you for your love for Him. And that is what your future children will see.


    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Samantha! God used you to encourage me as I seek to respond to these things in the right way. And even more, thank you for praying for us! We need it SO much. ❤


  6. I’m really sorry that you had to hear those words, that’s super hurtful. I don’t know you in real life but I’ve read your blog for a long time and I think you both will be fantastic parents. I also think you’re certainly not “unteachable” , the fact that you can take rude comments and learn, grow and become closer to God through it is very teachable.


    1. Thank you for your kind words, Jamie. God has used you to encourage my heart as I seek to respond to those things in the right way. I am not confident in our parenting abilities – but thank you for your encouragement about that – Paul and I are excited to see God work through us as we point our children to him. ❤


  7. I so appreciate your transparency. God led you and your husband to pursue foster-adoption so that’s the thing to stand on when people give their opinions (whether true or not). For me, parenthood has been one of my biggest transformers; has made me pray the most for my failures and for wisdom in situations. As marriage does for a lot of us, too. Nothing profound to add (especially since I don’t know you personally) — I think you’ve shared some great points. Children who need and want a home are not looking for perfection; they want love and it seems that you and Paul will have that in abundance. Hope your day today is blessed. Praying in upstate NY!


    1. Thank you so much for your kindness and your encouragement, Carrie! God has used you to encourage my heart as I seek to respond to these things in the right way, As you mentioned, I know I’m in for a lot more comments like that and I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn how to deal with them right now. ❤


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