Have you ever met someone and thought, "Wow, he's the total package"? A jock-type who is also a creative writer AND has a heart for Jesus?
Well, this describes Georgia author and retired pastor Dick Hoard to a “T”. Like many boys growing up in rural Georgia in the 1960's, Dick had a love for baseball and football. But when he was 14 years old, an unimaginable tragedy struck his family which changed his life forever. On a hot August morning in 1967, he was awakened by the sound of an explosion in his driveway. The explosion was his father's car being obliterated by ten sticks of dynamite when he turned the ignition. Dick's father, the Solicitor General for Jackson County, Georgia, was headed to court that fateful morning to prosecute an organized crime case.
In my interview with Dick, he unfolds the events which led up to his father's murder and how after this horrific event - as you can imagine - changed his life forever.
The senior Hoard was quite the athlete, excelling at both football - playing at UGA - and baseball, playing minor league ball for a time. Dick, too, played football and it was on the football field where he found an outlet for the anger he felt at the loss of his father. But not completely. Dick tells of coming to a breaking point and, for a reason he can't explain, went to church. During a special missionary meeting there, he felt Jesus releasing him of his pain and anger.
It was during college at UGA that Dick first began writing about his father's murder which eventually became a memoir entitled, "Alone Among the Living." And it was during this time in college, when Dick actually met the man who killed his father. Hearing him tell this story gave me chills and brought me to tears at the same time.
Fast forward a few years. Dick wound up becoming a high school football coach and literature teacher. But God had gotten ahold of
Dick's heart in those early years after his father's death, and there came a point in time when he realized God was calling him to ministry.
And that's where's he's been ever since. But being in ministry did not dampen his passion for telling stories and he is the author of several novels, the latest of which is called "The Missing Boys."
Listening to Dick tell his story is like listening to a suspense book from Audible. But for me, the over arching theme of his story is forgiveness. Dick explains how he came to realize God forgave him and died for him. He also came to understand he had to forgive the man who killed his father. Dick's fascinating life is a story of one man's ability, via the Holy Spirit, to forgive what seems like the unforgivable. It was also a reminder for me that if this man can forgive the man who murdered his father, I can forgive that friend who stood me up for coffee.
Forgiving Your Father’s Murderer
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