A Public Repentance
By Ron and Joanne Highley
Published April 1985
I praise and thank God with all my heart that He has provided everything in abundance for this ministry. He is a great God, full of mercy and love, who does everything perfectly. We delight to lift up His name and give Him praise and thanksgiving.
Part of His divine provision for us is His chastisement. He chastises those He loves. How we praise God for the chastisement we are now undergoing. (A note on chastisement -- in looking up this word in the dictionary I noticed in it the obvious root of “chaste”. “Chaste” means not having engaged in unlawful sexual intercourse, virtuous, free from obscenity, decent, undefiled, and stainless. “Chastise” means to discipline, especially by corporal punishment; archaic meanings include to restrain, refine, and purify.)
Around the first of this year I knew I was beginning to be off with the Lord. My time spent with Him was less and less because (I thought) the counseling and ministry work had to be done. It was not truly a conscious neglect but just the result of answering the phone and allowing counseling, meetings, etc., to fill every moment. I was not taking time for my appointment with God. He had great plans for LIFE, but I was not there for our appointments every morning so I was not getting in on His plans. I just let “whatever happened” be the plan. Also I had to rely on my own strength and wisdom because I was not tapping into the true Wisdom and Strength.
Careening down this dangerous path, I, as a head of this ministry, began to give heed when people criticized other ministries and individuals. Then I too started to criticize and look down on others, thinking that I had some great inside track on the TRUTH. I spoke against many of the Lord’s anointed ones.
I also was on a serious eating binge that was making me physically sick. The Lord had told me a year ago to fast for 40 days, which I had tried to do twice, but unsuccessfully.
Also there were broken relationships with a number of people -- again, not too obvious, but I knew I needed to make amends.
I thank God for His great love in speaking through Vincent Wineglass with a prophecy that told us all (the leaders of LIFE) that we were running ahead of God and if we did not repent He would replace our ministry with another. Then John Mofield came with a prophecy that God was not pleased with our relationship to the churches. Dan O’Brien gave a message that we need more prayer. Keith Clark called from Tampa to say we were lifting up the name of LIFE over the name of Jesus. Carlos Beauchamp said we need more fear of the Lord, and holiness before Him. And many others spoke the Lord’s loving words of chastisement.
In light of all this what can I say, dear brothers and sisters? I repent. I repent before you and before my loving Father. I thank you, Lord, for stopping me. Please guide me through this wonderful time of purging and breaking. I want to be perfected through suffering. Deliver me from any arrogance, jealousy, or exclusivism about LIFE. This ministry is entirely a move of your Holy Spirit. With your refining fire, purify me so that I may no longer look down on others. (See Luke 18:9-14: “To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else Jesus told this parable…”)
Help me to make amends and to restore relationships with those I have offended or cut off. Forgive me for “touching your anointed ones” -- have mercy on me. I acknowledge their position and authority, which you have ordained.
I long to be what you want me to be. I renounce any resistance to femininity -- I want to be a helper to Ron and exactly in the position you desire me to be. I want to speak with tenderness and love and strength and authority as you guide me. Please show us how to set up LIFE to your glory and honor and according to your Will. I repent of running ahead of you. I praise you, Lord, for this time of pruning, so that when summer comes we will be sturdy plants, ready for the heat -- fit vessels for your service. Hallelujah!
-- Joanne Highley
I eagerly join in this repentance with an acknowledgment of my lack of spiritual discipline. In addition to being convicted by the messages we have received from the Lord, I also was touched by a message on prayerlessness by our pastor in Kansas City, Ernest Gruen. I have been full of plans for the Lord’s kingdom and the expansion of LIFE Ministry as He opened doors, but was overlooking the vital importance of consulting Him every day in a quiet time. This produced an inner hyperactivity that bore little fruit. God, in His grace, was touching lives regardless of my devotional practice but now has made it plain that this must be corrected. I thank the Lord for the way He responds every time we seek Him, and I praise Him for His faithfulness, mercy, and His immutable laws and principles. I ask Him for the grace to accept His divine yoke and to be His dependable servant.
-- Ron Highley