Having trouble loving your neighbor as yourself? Feeling guilty about shunning the poor and sick and homeless? Worrying that God knows exactly how unwelcoming and cold-hearted you are toward strangers, refugees, and immigrants? Fretting about the eternal consequences of living an appallingly self-centered and fear-based “micro-life,” with no concern for anyone’s health and dental coverage but your own?
Well, Jesus has heard your prayers. In a 90-minute presentation held on Thursday at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, the Son of God announced that the commandment to love one another was being replaced with the “suggestion” to love others if it’s easy and convenient to do so—and if the others are similar to you in appearance and background and way of life.
With this and other changes to the New Testament, the Prince of Peace signaled that God was scaling back on the human moral burden of being “your brother’s keeper” and of loving and caring for “the least among you.”
In a major upgrade to the Gospel of Matthew, the daunting list of conditions that must be met in order to inherit the Kingdom of God and win everlasting life in heaven has been shortened and simplified. No longer is it necessary to care for the poor and the sick, to take in strangers and refugees, to visit the outcast and the imprisoned.
The new requirements for entering heaven are 1) to love yourself as much as you can while acknowledging that other people exist, 2) to feed and care for yourself as you would have others feed and care for you, and 3) to welcome and take in your good friends whenever you invite them to your house or apartment or condominium.
“We realized that the focus on loving and helping others, especially all those filthy and desperate people with no place to live, was not very user-friendly,” said Wallace R. Peterson, the New Testament’s senior vice president for marketing. “And, more than anything else, we want the Bible to be streamlined and easy to use so that you’ll be sure to take it with you wherever you go.”