Faith in God has always been an important part of Denzel Washington’s life. This Oscar and Golden Globe awarded winner has spoken up about his religion in attempt to encourage young people not to be ashamed of their love for God.
Denzel was born December 28, 1954, in Mount Vernon, New York. He has known of God since the moment he became aware of the world, as a very young boy. His father, Reverend Denzel Hayes Washington, Sr., served God all his life. His mother, Lynne Washington, was a beauty salon owner.
Denzel had special relation with both his parents. They were all very close as a family. Denzel talks about his relation to his father saying:
“My father, my earthly father, Denzel Washington Sr. was a pastor for the Church of God in Christ for 60 years…
I know he’s smiling in heaven, seeing his son doing the best I can do today, by the grace of God.”
This was the life he knew until he turned 14 when he started hanging out with many different friends who didn’t have positive influence on him.
He was getting involved into fights very often and his relation with God sort of faded away after his parents divorced. Their separation affected the life of young Denzel a great deal.
His performance at school was poor, so his mother knew she had to make a change in her son’s life and try to get him back on track. She decided to place him in the nearby Oakland Military Academy.
This life changing decision brought God closer to Denzel once again. His faith became stronger than ever and that won’t change in the years to come.
According to the St. Louis American, this is what the actor had to say for the moment of enlightenment.
“I had flunked out of college. I had a 1.7 grade point average. I had no future…. I was sitting looking in the mirror and I see a woman behind me sitting under the dryer. Of course, the voice of God always comes from under a dryer.
She said, ‘young man, you are going to travel the world and speak to people.
Now mind you, I was 20 years old, with a 1.7 grade point average and had flunked out of school. She said, ‘you are going to preach.'”
These words came to young Denzel as sort of awakening. He knew he had to choose his next step carefully, so he eventually opted to enroll in Fordham University choosing medicine as his major. In the meantime, he played some baseball and everything seemed fine, but not for long.
Denzel didn’t feel complete. He knew he had to make a change so he took a semester off and pursued other options. In one moment he turned to Camp Sloane YMCA in Lakeville, Connecticut where he was offered a job position of a Creative Art Director. That seemed like a great idea.
The Camp Sloane website explained how their program helped propel Denzel into the actor he is today:
“The counselors there put on a talent show for the kids. I put together these little poems and rhymes and skits for the kids in my cabin, and we stood up on stage and did our bit. After the show this guy named Miles Joyce came up to me and said, ‘Man, you ever thought about being an actor?'”
That wasn’t something he ever though of doing, but the word “acting” sounded challenging.
Needless to say, getting involved into acting was the best decision he could ever make.
He returned to college but ditched his old studies and studied Arts in Journalism instead.
Quickly after, he found himself in a completely new world. That of Hollywood. He had his break up role in “Carbon Copy” and his career went upwards making him one of the best and most famous world actors.
After that breakout role, Denzel landed spots on Glory, Crimson Tide, The Preacher’s Wife, Malcolm X and The Hurricane, just to name a few!
But Denzel’s biggest film thus far, Training Day, brought him the highest award possible in Hollywood: an Oscar for Best Actor. It was his crowning achievement after nearly two decades in the industry!
Despite his incredible success, he told Charisma News that God never lost faith in him:
“There’s never been a time where God didn’t direct, protect, and correct me…. There may have been times where I was less than faithful to Him, but He had faith in me.”
He believes he owes his success and fame to his faith in God. Both he and his wife Pauletta Pearson are devoted Christians who managed to keep their marriage strong despite the pressure his career had on their relationship.
Denzel told the Huffington Post that couples nowadays don’t seems to share the same drive to make things work:
“We live in a time – and it’s not for me to judge anyone – when people give up too easy.”
In the same Huffington Post article, Pauletta said that marriage isn’t all happiness and roses:
“I live with this man. I see the down part. I see the sad part. I see every part.
He has and knows he has that stability in me as his wife.
That’s gives him strength, regardless of if he misuses it. I can’t dwell on that. But I do know that gives him a great platform to go and fly.”
Their marriage of 33 years is still one of the strongest in Hollywood. The reason why? Denzel says:
“Two phrases. One is “yes, dear” and the other is “honey, you’re right.” Be patient. Be good friends first. And stick together. You gotta work at it. I’ve been married 31 years. It’s not all a honeymoon, it’s not all flowers and roses, but if you’re friends and partners and committed, you’ll be okay.”
A good marriage means never giving up of one another.
“I just think that you have to work at it. Not give up on each other. It’s a commitment. It’s not all the honeymoon, it doesn’t last forever, so you work at it.”
Although fame can come and go, the faith in God and the relationship with the right person are forever.
In addition to his marriage advice, Denzel told Evangelical Focus that there’s one thing you have to keep in mind during the good times and the bad:
“Number one, put God first in everything you do.
Everything that you think you see in me and everything you think I’ve accomplished and everything you think I have… everything I have is by the grace of God, understand that. It’s a gift.”
He shares his life story with the world to inspire those who are struggling with doubt. He adds that although he lost his faith in God at some point in life, God never lost faith in him.