Shazam! actor Zachary Levi recently opened up about how God delivered him from several personal struggles in his life, including depression and suicide.
“My particular upbringing and the way that it molded me and shaped me brought me to a lot of these ends,” Levi said about how his tumultuous childhood affected him in an interview with CBN’s Faithwire. “I completely fell apart. I was surrounded by darkness [and] had nothing but lies being spewed into my ear,” he added.
In his newly released book, Radical Love: Learning to Accept Yourself and Others, Levi gives fans a detailed look at his mental health journey, including his struggles with depression, anxiety, and suicide.
“I really came to the point where I … didn’t want to live … and I didn’t know what to do,” he noted.
After moving to Texas a few years ago, family members and friends helped Levi face his struggles head-on. As reported by Faithwire, the actor underwent treatment and also found healing through a woman who helped him learn to love himself and strengthen his faith.
Even though Levi was raised in a Judeo-Christian tradition, his beliefs were challenged throughout his struggles.
“I was so enveloped in the darkness that it was pretty much the first time in my life I could say that I maybe stopped believing there was a God,” he said. “I have always leaned into God and into my faith and trust and followed [Him]. I haven’t done it perfectly. But I got to this place where … to feel abandoned and to feel like I didn’t want to live anymore really, really, really shook my faith.”
Now several years later, Levi shared that he has been “incredibly redeemed.”
The actor added that regardless of where people currently stand when it comes to belief in God, he wants to help them realize that they are “extensions of God’s love” and that they don’t need to earn that position.
“You’re a miracle … you’re still a mathematical improbability beyond all measure — that we are spinning around on this ball of mud out in the middle of the universe,” he said.
Regarding the title of his book, Radical Love, Levi explained that the term is rooted in Jesus’ teachings on loving people as they are, including one’s enemies. He stressed that “actual love is a radical practice.”
“Jesus was saying to love your enemy and pray for your persecutor. This is something that nobody seemingly does,” Levi said. “And [Christ] talks about, to love those who already love you isn’t really love … love is to radically accept someone else exactly as they are, exactly where they’re from.”
“These are our enemies, these are our persecutors, but we don’t take the time to acknowledge that they are still also a child of God, that they are still a miracle that is across from us, whether that’s across the aisle, across the faith, across whatever you might find,” the actor continued.
“If we have any chance of making it into a future that is not just really sad and really full of hate and anger and fear, we’ve got to radically accept where people are in their lives,” he said.
At the same time, however, Levi stressed that this does not mean condoning people’s bad behavior.
Citing one personal example, he shared that he had to forgive his mother, who significantly contributed to the actor’s tumultuous upbringing.
“It took me a lot of healing and a lot of forgiveness to get to the point where I could forgive and love my mother, for example, who was a major contributor to the trauma that I experienced in my life,” Levi said. “If we want a better world, we’re going to have to radically love each other.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Frazer Harrison/Staff
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.