Corporate Sin and Corporate Confession
Can an entire group of people be held accountable for the sins of some of their members? Lamentations 1:18 says yes. God's people bear corporate responsibility. We may not have contributed directly to the wrongs committed in the past but just as we inherit benefits from our ancestors we must also accept the legacies of sin. Following after the example of Jeremiah, God's people can make a confession and seek healing for what we as the people have done and acknowledge the consequences that are still with us.
Today this means we must think about how we conduct our lives, knowing that the choices we make today may affect our grandchildren.
Understanding God's Love
In 2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33, King David pleads with his commanders to deal gently with his rebellious son, Absalom. Absalom had tried to unseat David from the throne, yet David still loved him. In this text we begin to catch a glimpse in David about what God's love for sinners might be like.
Absalom ended up getting caught in a tree and left dangling between heaven and earth. He was completely helpless. The result of his own treachery. In the end one of David's commanders killed Absalom to avoid future threats to the throne.
So how is God's love like the love David had for son Absalom? How would you want your son or daughter dealt with if they committed a serious crime? How does God treat us?
He forgives us because of Christ's death on the Cross. We are forgiven, but we do not deserve forgiveness. In a sense sinners are like Absalom, we are in completely helpless state, the result of our own choices.
How do you understand God's love for you?
During my prayer time, I was thinking of the veterans who have to wait a year for treatment. Mark 2:1-12 came to mind. Many people gathered around Jesus in a home and the paralytic and the people carrying him could not get in to be healed by Jesus. They had their entry blocked. However, nothing was going to prevent those who carried the paralytic from gaining access to Jesus for their friend.
In life I am sure some of us will be blocked from gaining entry to many things, sometimes due to a lack of imagination, faith or the willingness to take a risk. When you do, remember the friends of the paralytic mentioned in Mark 2:1-12.
After a few days, Jesus went back to Capernaum, and people heard that he was at home. So many gathered that there was no longer space, not even near the door. Jesus was speaking the word to them. Some people arrived, and four of them were bringing to him a man who was paralyzed. They couldn't carry him through the crowd, so they tore off part of the roof above where Jesus was. When they had made an opening, they lowered the mat on which the paralyzed man was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Child, your sins are forgiven!"
Some legal experts were sitting there, muttering among themselves, "Why does he speak this way? He's insulting God. Only the one God can forgive sins."
Jesus immediately recognized what they were discussing, and he said to them, "Why do you fill your minds with these questions? Which is easier—to say to a paralyzed person, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, take up your bed, and walk'? But so you will know that the Human One has authority on the earth to forgive sins"—he said to the man who was paralyzed, "Get up, take your mat, and go home."
Jesus raised him up, and right away he picked up his mat and walked out in front of everybody. They were all amazed and praised God, saying, "We've never seen anything like this!"
Thoughts on Gossip by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
From the book "Letters and Papers From Prison"
February 13, 1944
"... It sometimes makes me ashamed here to see how people lower themselves in their need to gossip, how they talk incessantly about their own affairs to others who are hardly worth wasting their breath on and who hardly ever listen; and the strange thing is that these people do not even feel that they have to speak the truth, but simply want to talk about themselves, whether they tell the truth or not."
"The wish for a good conversation, a meeting of the minds, is quite another matter; but there are very few people here you can carry on a conversation that goes beyond their own personal concerns. ... I think its infrequent here, because people are not ... concerned either subjectively or objectively about sin."
Is gossiping a sign of sin? What are your thoughts?