The image in your rearview mirror? Nothing but grill. You confirm that you are going five miles an hour over the posted speed limit and your blood boils. Admittedly you are in the “fast lane” but that jerk has no business feeling the way he is feeling about you. How can he be so irate?

Once you finally move over the grill becomes a passing automobile. You wrench your neck getting into position for the inevitable “how-can-people-be-so-rude” stare when you lay your eyes on the sweetest, kindest little old lady you’ve ever seen. Rather than shaking her fist at you she is engrossed in a joyful conversation with another little old lady. They would not have noticed you if you had been driving a neon sign! The experience (hopefully) provokes some reflection about the human condition.

There in the fast lane you could feel the hatred, the anger, and the frustration flowing from the driver behind you. It was as real as if you were feeling it yourself. The fact is that you were feeling that hatred and anger yourself—the last time you raced up on some jerk going too slow in the fast lane.

What you’re doing now is called projecting. The fact that the lady behind you is too senile to be angry at you (or even notice you) is completely irrelevant. Your emotional reaction refuses to be swayed by reality (“I know what the Bible says, it’s just that …”).

Understandably, we hate sin. We despise what it has done to us and to our world. We find it almost impossible to cope with what humanity has become. We really don’t like this place or the people in it (ourselves included). We assume God feels the same way; we project our emotional reaction onto God.

Unless the adherents are extremely discerning, most religious systems are eventually neutralized by the fallen powers of this evil age by using this weapon of projection. The religious justify their isolation from humanity: we hate them; therefore, God hates them. The farther we stay away from them the better. God’s going to fry them one day anyway (the sooner the better, if you ask me!)

Enter a God who is tender, compassionate, and forgiving. A God who diligently pursues them, eats with them, talks with them, touches them, and ignores us. Who would reject such a tender, compassionate, forgiving God? The religious would—and did (violently!)