Actor Zachary Levi is opening up about his personal struggles and the meaning of love in his new book Radical Love: Learning to Accept Yourself and Others, but he’s not talking about fluffy or simplistic notions of love. He means the bold forgiving love Jesus taught in the Gospel.
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Levi’s book is as much about his faith journey as it is his story of self-discovery and as such the press tour includes a Zoom interview with CBN’s Faithwire, wherein he discusses a Biblical form of love modern culture lost touch with.
“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.”
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The actor added enemies are children of God too and ought to be recognized as a miracle of life as much as yourself. “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,” he said.
Continuing, he stated accepting people the way they are where they are in life can make the future brighter. “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.”
Levi talked about coming from a troubled household that led to trauma and depression he carried with him throughout his life. He mentioned his mother was a source of some of that but clarified she may have been abused as a child or had a stern upbringing.
Levi discovered later his depression was a condition more inordinate and abnormal than his peers and that it began to affect his life and career adversely. On a retreat arranged by his sister, the star started to dig deep to the root of his problems and unpack everything – a process he only began in the last few years.
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Levi was close to suicide when he lost his Marvel gig as one of The Warriors Three. Shazam was right around the corner but he hadn’t gotten the part yet so he was at his lowest with his struggles which he has been candid about in the past.
Working his way back involved liking himself again but Levi stated that’s only the first step. To love like Jesus, he says, you can’t simply graduate from liking your closest friends to liking them more. Acknowledging the dignity of an enemy and others is the goal.
“And I truly believe that if we can help heal the hearts and minds of everyone on earth, we will solve every other problem known to man in the process,” he told People in March. Zachary Levi’s book is on sale in print and audio formats. His next movie, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, is out in theaters this December.
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