And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, "O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments."
American culture places a great deal of emphasis on the individual. Our heritage admires the hardy pioneer who single-handedly carved his farmstead from the wilderness. We have a sense of awe toward the lone gunman of the Wild West who tamed a lawless town. We take as our role model the rugged individualist who made it on his own in the business world. Therefore, we seldom stop to think that God holds us accountable not only for those things we do as individuals, but for the actions of others as well.
Daniel, however, understood very well this concept of corporate guilt. When he went before the Lord in prayer, it was not just a personal and individual matter; it was a group confession. He prayed, "We have done wickedly," "We have rebelled," "We have departed from Your precepts and Your judgments." Daniel personally had been very scrupulous to uphold God's standards. But he accepted his part in the corporate guilt of his people. He confessed national sin as if it were his own.
We may feel that it's unfair of God to hold us responsible for the sins of others. We aren't the ones having abortions, spreading pornography or dealing in drugs. Yet we are part of a group of people that is doing all these things?and much more. As a member of a society, we are responsible for the actions of our society and, in a sense, participate in its sin as well as share in its guilt.
As you pray today, confess your personal sins to God, but do more. See yourself as one who is responsible to confess the sins of your family, your church and your nation. Recognize that you are not only an individual but part of a corporate body.
Sin is everybody's responsibility.