God's Not Dead 2 Actress Melissa Joan Hart Opens Up about Her Faith Journey
Melissa Joan Hart was the latest guest on ABC’s podcast, Journeys of Faith with Paula Faris. Hart talked about her faith in God – how it’s grown over the past few years and how it affects her everyday life.
For years she really struggled to connect with faith and understand the Bible.
“I would try,” she told ABC’s Paula Faris. She even read Revelations by herself as a teen, but had a hard time understanding. “I was always trying to learn more about the Bible, but just couldn’t figure out how,” she said.
Hart was raised Catholic like most other families living on Long Island, New York. But when she and her Baptist-raised husband were looking for a faith community together in Los Angeles, they settled on a Presbyterian church.
When Hart started going to the church’s mom group, she noticed, “everybody knew the Bible so well. Everyone was quoting Bible passages, and I still to this day cannot retain Bible passages. I can memorize lines as a job,” but memorizing Bible verses felt impossible. “I felt really lost in that group,” she said.
Things changed when their family moved to Connecticut.
A friend invited her to the local Community Bible Study, “and that just changed everything,” she said. “We’ve been on this journey together here – the women in my neighborhood.”
Last year, Hart even gave Revelations another try when the group studied the book together. For her, walking with Jesus didn’t start with one “ah-ha” moment. It’s been more of a “continual growth of getting to know him by getting to know the Scripture better,” she said.
“It’s opened up my eyes to what God wants us to know, what Jesus came here for, what our purpose is,” Hart said.
Getting to know God and the Bible better affected things about her everyday life like moments when she feels scared at home alone in the dark. “When I’m afraid – when I’m walking the halls and you get that creepy feeling like goosebumps up your back,” she said she just proclaims Jesus name out loud in her home: “This is a Jesus home. Satan is not welcome here.”
Living out her faith in God showed her that “darkness is just the absence of light,” she said. “Without Jesus, you just have this darkness. Not having Jesus in your life just leaves this void.”
Hart talked not only about times when her faith seemed to soar, but also when it seemed to sink. Like when she was working on making the film, God’s Not Dead 2.“That was a real test,” she said.
Although she was sure of her calling to work on this film, she said the decision was a major point of tension within her family – because it meant more time she would be away from home. Still, the experience bolstered her faith. She encountered famous apologists like Lee Strobel who were also involved in making God’s Not Dead 2.
“For hours, I asked every question I ever had,” Hart said. “It was an eye-opening experience.”
She was more sure of her faith and was praying all the time. Then, hard questions and doubt began to creep back in.
“That’s totally normal to question your faith – that’s how you grow,” Faris, the podcast host, said.
Sometimes, doubt would inspire questions that bugged her. Questions like:
“Was Jesus just a really cool dude, or was he the son of God?”
“What happens when we die?”
“Why would God care about my little soul?”
Hart said when she was faced with these questions, she would close her eyes and “tap into the Holy Spirit and let him speak to me. And you feel that warmth and you feel that change.” That let her move on, still holding onto her faith in God.
“Right now, I might be just as anxiety-ridden over certain things as I was when I was an angsty teenager,” Hart said. “But now I have this understanding of, ‘It’s gonna be okay,’ and this calm and peace that I feel like people don’t have if they don’t have faith.”
Hart went on to discuss how her faith impacted more ups and downs and trials of life. You can listen to the full podcast episode here.
She and her family are moving back to L.A. soon to work on her new show with Netflix, called No Good Nick. She plays Liz, the mom in a family that takes in an orphaned teen who they are learning is…no good.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Alberto E. Rodriguez/Staff