Have you ever been criticized by another individual? Of course you have.
Have you ever felt the criticism to have been unjust or undeserved? Of course you have.
However, while all of us have had criticism aimed at us, none of us can say that criticism was never justified; at least, not truthfully. Further, we sometimes don’t understand as clearly as we should the nature of our mistakes. This keeps us from understanding the proper application of any justified criticism.
For example, at the fourteenth chapter of Matthew, Jesus’ disciples were aboard a ship in the midst of a storm. As the ship tossed about in the fury of the waves, Jesus appeared in the storm, walking on the water. The disciples cried out for fear, supposing Jesus to be a spirit, but He called to them and identified Himself, urging them not to be afraid.
Peter called back to the Lord, saying he wished for Jesus to prove Himself by enabling him to walk on the water also. Jesus bid him to come, and Peter stepped out of the ship onto the surface of the water, and began to walk to Jesus. Once underway, however, Peter began to fear the storm about him, and began to sink. He cried for the Lord to save him, and Jesus caught him immediately, asking Peter why he doubted.
At first thought, the Lord’s question may seem out of reason. After all, who wouldn’t fear the violence of a great storm on the sea while outside a ship and out on the water? Didn’t Peter react as any man would when he saw the winds and their effect on the sea?
Here’s where we may misunderstand the application of Jesus’ criticism. Wasn’t the storm already in progress when Peter exited the ship? Wasn’t the condition of the sea the same now as it was before Peter left the ship to walk on the water?
You see, it took no more faith for Peter to continue than it did for him to begin. Jesus must have been displeased that Peter abandoned the faith that had at first been instrumental, with the Lord’s help, in enabling Peter to do what no other man had done.
If we listen to the Lord’s will and allow Him to make of us what He will, we’ll reach levels of success not otherwise possible. Should He correct us in the process, let us be careful not to dismiss His advice.