Ray Hunt: Like Father, Like Son?
By Kara Lavengood
The 700 Club
“I have asked myself, ‘What did I do?’ You know, ‘Did I do something wrong? Did I do something why he isn’t here, or does he even love me? Does he care about me? Does he know I’m even his son?’”
Growing up, Ray Hunt never knew his father, and although he had a loving family, he longed for a dad.
“I just didn’t know what it was like to have a dad. When I would ask about my dad, it was to the point of as soon as I asked, it was cut off.”
One day, while looking through his grandparents’ attic, he found some old photographs.
“I came across a couple pictures of this guy. He was always sitting with the family. I took it to my grandmother and I said, ‘Who is this guy?’ She looked at me like she had seen a ghost. I realized, you know, it was my dad. So, okay, there is my dad. He’s out there somewhere. Who is he? Why are they not telling me?”
No one confirmed his suspicions, but Ray didn’t forget about the photo, even when a new man stepped in as his father.
When Ray was eight years old, his mother married David Hunt.
“I remember jumping up into his arms, and he held me and he told me, ‘I’m going to treat you like you were my own, and I will never hurt your mother.’ For me, it was exciting because I had somebody as a dad.”
David adopted Ray and officially became his dad, but something was still missing.
“I mean, I had a mom and a dad, and I just think, ‘This is great.’ I still had questions. This isn’t my real dad.”
He knew he had a real dad somewhere. Ray was overcome by anger and bitterness. He started rebelling, in small ways at first, like staying out too late, but by his teen years, he was out of control. When he was sixteen, Ray was introduced to drugs and alcohol.
“I couldn’t stand up I was so high. For me, what that felt like was, I don’t have any feelings. Everything I was going through or feeling, I just let it all go. I was just in a different world.”
Ray then started selling drugs. After a while, his business began to thrive.
“I was making four-hundred, five-hundred, six-hundred a transaction.”
When his business peaked, Ray was making five to six thousand dollars a week. It was a profitable, but dangerous business. Sometimes drug deals didn’t go as planned.
“I had a gun held to my head the whole time while I watched one of my friends get beat up. I couldn’t do anything.”
But Ray was far from the victim.
“I wanted to hurt somebody; not more or less just hit them and go. I wanted to see them bleed and make them feel what I felt on the inside. I wanted to see them look like that.”
Ray was living a double life. His family had no idea what kind of trouble he was in.
“The rules of living at home with my mom and dad was, ‘If you’re going to live here, under my roof, you’re going to be at church.’ I was going to church every Sunday with them, pretty much every Sunday. But then, you know, Friday, Saturday night, or during the week, I was a different person.”
When a few of his friends got busted and sent to prison, Ray’s hard-partying lifestyle started to slow down. He felt empty inside, and considered killing himself.
“What was I living for, you know what I mean? I just thought I was just this horrible person, you know, I could never be forgiven of what I’ve done.”
Though Ray never went through with his suicide attempt, he learned his biological father had killed himself. Ray was 21-years-old his parents told him the news.
“So, my biological father, he’d taken his life. Shot himself in the head.”
Ray decided to go to his father’s funeral.
“It doesn’t matter how bad of a person he was, I mean, what he did or what he’s done. It’s like, it’s still for you to have that feeling this is your biological father. You never met him. The first time I’m going to meet him, I’m looking down in a casket and he’s dead.”
He had never dealt with his feelings toward the man, and now had no idea how to process his emotions.
“I walked right up and I stood right in front of the casket and I just looked and just sat there. Maybe it was anger, maybe it was bitterness, it was something like but like, and ‘Why did you do this?’ Like, ‘What was it? Was it me? Why did you kill yourself? Am I going to take my life like he took his? Do I have that in me?’”
Ray learned the reason his mom had kept his father’s identity a secret. Ray was conceived out of rape.
“He forced himself upon her and basically raped her. So I found out, you know, I was bitter towards the family. There was nothing to cope with. I was at the lowest of the lows then.”
Ray’s dad and grandfather invited him to a men’s conference at the church.
“I had my eyes closed and I was just like, ‘Lord,’ you know, ‘If this is You, if You’re going to forgive me, then I want to give my life to You.’ Tears were coming down my eyes and I just saying ‘Lord, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.’ And He just kept saying, ‘I love you, and there’s nothing that you’ve done that I will not forgive you.’”
When Ray found God’s forgiveness, it allowed him to forgive those who had hurt him.
“All this stuff that I’ve had in, I’m letting it out: the pain, the sorrow, the guilt, the bitterness, the hate, and the sin. All of those things bound up that you kept inside, there’s only one answer, and it is Jesus Christ.”
Today, Ray is a new man. He’s drug-free. He’s married and he and his wife just had their first child. Ray is thankful for what God has done and is doing in his life.
“What has changed me is I’ve asked the Lord to come into my life, and He’s totally transformed me.”
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