Talking Convictions and Character with Kevin Costner
From Field of Dreams to Dancing with Wolves, Kevin Costner has played several characters that were faced with hardships but continued to persevere. Costner was raised in a Baptist home with a traditional family structure, which shaped his values. We talked with Costner two years ago about how he instills character in his children, how he stays true to his convictions and how he handles the pressures of life.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:1-5
Costner opens up on how the lessons he learned from his parents inspire how he raises his children.
“They hear it, and sometimes they see it. It is not something on purpose. I remember my dad held a job working for the electrical company and typically when there were giant rainstorms the power lines would go out. And I began to learn that whenever there was really bad weather my father would usually be out all night trying to get the power back up for people. When there were really bad storms he’d have to do it three to four nights in a row. He’d come home from all day at work and sometimes that phone would ring at three in the morning. I remember my mom, knowing that my dad was really tired, she’d say ‘Don’t answer it.’ And he’d say, ‘No, I have to answer it.’ So I would hear these conversations in my bedroom through the walls. I understood what it was like for a guy to answer the bell. For a guy to say, ‘No, if I don’t go it will mean somebody else will have to go and I just can’t have that.’ My dad felt his job was really important. So sometimes the lessons are from watching the behavior.”
Costner shares how he stays true to his convictions while being in the limelight as an actor.
“I’ve stayed true to my own convictions, but you don’t escape it because there is so much media. I can turn on a TV show to just see something I want to watch, and somehow my name shows up [motioning to the bottom ticker across the screen] or I can pick up a magazine to read something, and there I am. When it’s positive, it’s a wonderful feeling. And when it’s slanted a little bit negative, it’s a sinking feeling. So consequently, when it comes to the media I don’t really look outside [holds up hands next to eyes to show tunnel vision]…it almost has to be right in front of me, because you can have your feelings hurt.”
“Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame. 1 Corinthians 15:33-34
Costner opens up on how he handles the pressures of life.
“I have a tendency to probably be at my best under pressure. I actually play sports better when I’m mad. I’ve had moments in my life where everything I had was all out on the table. And I’m okay with that because I had a strong belief that if I could get it just right, what I was doing, other people could believe it too. I have a tremendous belief in people. Not that people don’t let me down, not that I haven’t maybe let people down…but I have a tremendous belief in people and in the common experience. I feel like I have been able to live a dream life, but my view of things is absolutely inside behavior- how I behave, and how I count on other people to behave.”
Be a person of character. Whatever it is a hard decision or a daily choice, it is important to have our character rooted in Christ. Take time daily to be in the Word and pray. Reflect on examples throughout the Bible of character and how people responded in different situations. When you make a mistake, ask God for forgiveness and ask the forgiveness of others if necessary.
Instill character in others. Each of us has been given an opportunity to be an influence on others. Whether it is your children, someone younger than you in your profession, or a team you coach, there are people all around us that we have the potential to influence. Pray and ask God who He wants you to mentor. Discipleship and mentorship doesn’t have to be a class or formal meeting time. It can be as you go about your everyday life.
Turn to Christ when you’re faced with pressure. Whether it is peer pressure from a teammate to do drugs or pressure from a co-worker to cut corners, we are faced daily with different types of pressures. God wants us to turn to him during these difficult times. He wants to give us wisdom through the Holy Spirit to navigate whatever we are facing. It may not always be easy doing the right thing, but God wants us to honor Him even when no one is looking.
To read our entire interview with Kevin Costner, click here.
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