Denzel Washington is an actor, director, producer, and bonafide movie star.
He is well known for infusing his cinematic character portrayals with dignity and grace.
It turns out that these qualities actually emanate from a faith that dwells deep inside the man.
The double Academy Award winner has been forthright about his devotion to the Christian tenets.
His father, Denzel H. Washington Sr., was an ordained Pentecostal minister, who additionally worked at the New York City Water Department as well as at a department store. His mother operated a beauty parlor.
Denzel and his siblings were not allowed to go to movie theaters. Instead their film experience growing up was biblically based and included movie fare such as “The Ten Commandments” and “King of Kings.”
A daily Bible reader, he considered becoming a preacher himself.
“A part of me still says, ‘Maybe, Denzel, you’re supposed to preach. Maybe you’re still compromising.’ I’ve had an opportunity to play great men and, through their words, to preach,” he said back in 1999.
“I take what talent I’ve been given seriously, and I want to use it for good,” he added
In addition to the two Oscars that he was awarded, Denzel has three Golden Globes, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a Tony in his trophy case.
He is starring in a new adaptation of the Shakespeare classic “Macbeth,” which is set to be released Christmas 2021. The upcoming film is titled “The Tragedy of Macbeth.”
For years he has been candid about his faith.
A rousing commencement address that was delivered a few years ago at Dillard University in New Orleans is titled “Put God First.” The speech has over 28 million views on YouTube.
In the address, Denzel notes that everything he has accomplished in this life has been the result of God’s grace. He encourages the graduates to put God first in everything that they do.
One notable quote from the speech made its way around the world.
“I have not always stuck with God, but he has always stuck with me,” Denzel says.
He is one of a handful of Hollywood actors that routinely go against the grain.
One sterling example is his 40 year marriage to wife Pauletta. The couple has four grown children.
Earlier this year he proudly displayed his support for those who risk life and limb to come to the aid of others in need. He openly praised our nation’s law enforcement and military.
“I have the utmost respect for what they do, for what our soldiers do, [people] that sacrifice their lives,” he said.
“I just don’t care for people who put those kind of people down. If it weren’t for them, we would not have the freedom to complain about what they do,” he added.
Denzel was a recent featured speaker at “The Better Man Event,” which was hosted by the First Baptist Church of Orlando. He was able to share the story of how God has led him by the hand along life’s path.
“At 66, getting ready to be 67, having just buried my mother, I made a promise to her and to God, not just to do good the right way, but to honor my mother and my father by the way I live my life, the rest of my days on this Earth. I’m here to serve, to help, to provide,” Denzel said.
He told his spiritual mentor, Pastor A.R. Bernard, senior pastor of the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, New York, what God has been telling him when he prays: “In every prayer, all I hear is: ‘Feed my sheep.’ That’s what God wants me to do.”
Often his response is, “What’s that mean?”
But, as Denzel explained, “What I found out in the last couple of years is there are all kinds of sheep. So that’s why I talk to experienced shepherds to help guide me.”
Reaching out to men, Denzel explained that “the world has changed,” and asked, “What is our role as a man?”
According to Denzel, the answer to the question emanates from the qualities of “…strength, leadership, power, authority, guidance, patience…,” and he noted that these “are God’s gift to us as men. We have to cherish that, not abuse it.”
He confided that during “the whole 40-year process” of his career, an inner struggle was taking place “for my own soul.”
He spoke of the dangers of narcissism that are plaguing our society during these current unprecedented times.
“It [the Bible] says in the last days we’ll become lovers of ourselves,” he said.
Then he delved into the self-focus that is a peculiar hallmark of the social media phenomena.
“The number one photograph now is a selfie. So we all want to lead. We’re willing to do anything — ladies and young men — to be influential,” he said.
On the subject of celebrity, he explained, “… Fame is a monster and we all have these ladders and battles, roads we have to walk in our given lives. Be you famous or whoever’s out there listening, we all have our individual challenges. It’s cliché [but] money, don’t make it better. It doesn’t. Fame just magnifies the problems and the opportunities.”
According to Denzel, the formula for a successful life is to “stay on your knees.”
Quoting Psalm 19, he said, “I hope that the words in my mouth and the meditation of my heart are pleasing in God’s sight.”
“I’m just like you. What I have will not keep me on this Earth for one more day. Share what you know, inspire who you can, seek advice. If you want to talk to someone, talk to the One that can do something about it,” he advised.
Wise words from a preacher’s son.