I was raised in a Seventh-day Adventist home where we broke many of the church "rules" such as no drinking of Dr. Pepper, no dancing, no wearing jewelry, no going to movies. We kept Sabbath in a very lax and relaxing way. I remember my mother winking at me and whispering, "God doesn't really care.... He knows our hearts" whenever we went out to eat on Sabbath (a no-no when I was growing up SDA.) Sin was ambiguous, gray.... kinda something bad done when you meant harm. If you had a good, sincere, benevolent heart, then it really didn't matter what you did, because Jesus understood you meant well.
Looking back I am appalled at the way I trivialized sin. It was because innately when you are told drinking caffeine is a sin and you do it with your parents and then you don't feel bad--it messes you up. Fake sins don't have true conscience consequences, and when you have been so indoctrinated into a fake sin that you DO feel guilty for having done it--- you are messed up even more.
The devil must enjoy all this confusion, all this guilt for no reason and all this sinning with no guilt.
My vision of God as a child was that He was up there, very busy, judging the bad guys, so us good-guys should basically take a seat and be quiet until the second coming. He would look over once in a while and wink at us. I never worried about getting in. I was born into the "club"-- a Seventh-day Adventist--and God wasn't strict at all.... in fact, He might be amused at our little sins.... After all, He hung around prostitutes and sinners... God was laid back, jolly, merciful.... It's all good--except for those in the last days that rejected the Sabbath... then ouch.... annihilation...
My prayer now is that I understand what true sin is and the only way I can get there is by listening--not to my conscience because it was not developed rightly, but my church and my Bible. I need a conscience overhaul and I WANT the fear of God placed in me for things that are sin.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, the Psalmist tells us. So I pray for that fear that I may be wise.
But most Seventh-day Adventists are not like that. They were raised that what the church called sin, was truly sinful. And you better feel LOTS of guilt. That is why I could go to Adventist schools with drug addicts and sex addicts, self-centered jerks, who felt perfectly saintly because they faithfully attended church on Sabbath (Saturday) and didn't drink coffee.
My husband doesn't need to pray for fear. He has been overwhelmed and paralyzed with it all his life. His vision of God wasn't kind. He couldn't think, couldn't act, couldn't live because of the way he was raised. All he wanted was to turn up the white noise so he didn't have to deal with all the guilt and fear he felt. He didn't go to movies, drink anything with caffeine. Sabbath was strictly kept and no question were allowed. Ellen White was the Seventh-day Adventist Peter (can't say pope because those come and go--Ellen White is forever!) They had morning worship from the SDA daily devotional. And he was the perfect Adventist who didn't make waves, didn't question, wasn't seen nor heard.
Now he smokes cigars and drinks port with his grown sons. So he is much better. And now he is fully engaged as a warrior for the Lord. He is strong and long-suffering, (thanks to Catholicism and its voice, Michael Voris.)
Most Adventists do not need to pray for fear of the Lord, for their experience was more like my husbands.
But as I look around at the culture, I find that there is a general need for Fear of the Lord. The confusion of Adventism and sin is sort of a microcosm of the world. Nobody talks about it. The media sure doesn't. I haven't heard many sermons on it. My family and friends aren't sitting around the coffee table discussing it. And when I do hear it brought up during a blue moon, people all disagree as to what it is.
Maybe if we all had a healthy fear of the Lord we would be wise enough to clearly know what sin is. Then we could begin to fight it with God's grace...... That's what I am praying for....