Americans have been known for their fierce individualism. This -ism isn’t exclusive to our nation, but we do tend to be louder about it. We are, ironically, lumped together for our individuality.
I don’t remember who it was that made the following observation, but it has stuck with me for almost twenty years. The Islamic terrorists who hijacked the planes over U.S. soil on September 11 did not concern themselves with the question of whether everyone on each plane was the embodiment of what they hated. The Koran teaches that heathens deserve death, those in the United States are heathens, therefore those in the United States deserve death. We are connected together enough; our individuality was corporately judged no matter how much any individual would object.
I bring this up as an illustration for those of us in the church. What we do as individuals cannot be separated from the groups we are joined with (family, nation, church) no matter how private, or personal, we think we have the right to be.
You are part of the body. Your sin is your own in that the body cannot repent of your sin instead of you, but your sin is not only your own in that it won’t affect the body. If the foot is broken then putting a cast on the hand isn’t sufficient, and also, if the foot is broken, the hand can’t get over as easily to what it wanted to pick up.
“If one member suffers, all suffer together” (1 Corinthians 12:26). If one member sins, the testimony of the assembly suffers. God has arranged the members in the body as He chose, and so my sin takes up your time and visa versa. It’s one of the reasons why our weekly confession of sin is corporate, even as we are many.