Some people say, "Why do I need to go to confession? My sin is between me and God." I always think, "would that the world were that simple." There is no sin that doesn't ripple out and have consequences beyond the individual. The priest in confession speaks not only on behalf of God but all those people.
Yesterday we heard of Jezebel's sin. Today Ahab became an accomplice when he went down and took possession of the dead man's vineyard. He probably rationalized it by saying to himself, "well, I didn't have anything to do with killing him. And if I don't take the vineyard someone else will." But by profiting from Jezebel's sin, it became his as well.
Because you have given yourself up to doing evil in the LORD’s sight, I am bringing evil upon you: I will destroy you and will cut off every male in Ahab’s line
To our modern ear this rings harsh, but what God through Elijah is trying to teach is just how far the ripple effect of can go, for Good or for bad. Remember that God's promise to David rippled all the way down to Jesus. So good ripples as well as bad.
Our sins can effect generations of people.
When Ahab was confronted with his sin, he did his penance, and was forgiven. But the chain of events he had set in motion, God would not stop. And this chicken will come home to roost, not in his lifetime but in his son's.
The interconnectedness of humanity can be a wonderful thing. But it also means that when we sin, we can set in motion harm to others that we never intend or foresee. Like it or not our actions now will effect generations to come. That's just how God made the world. It is a law as real as gravity.