The Art of Placing Blame


I have always been fascinated by how people see their world.  What got me started with this is the study of how people communicate one to one, sometimes referred to as interpersonal communication.

The aspect of interpersonal communication that was most fascinating to me was how people understand themselves and others.  In my study, I found that this is a very inexact activity, with humans trying to find reasons for human behavior by basically guessing about what was going on with themselves and others.

Social psychologists are rarely ever happy to say that “human beings guess” as a reason for behavior, so over the years, many research hours and dollars have been spent to see patterns in human guessing.  Patterns are the clues they have found for human behavior

One of the most common patterns they found is, we try to provide very positive reasons for what we do.  Social psychologists say that we employ something called “self-serving bias.”

Let me give you some examples so you can see the pattern.

Let’s say someone in the office messes up a job.  We will say they are poor listeners.  If we mess up the job, the boss is very poor at giving directions.

When a friend loses his cool and lashes out in anger, it is because he is moody and overly sensitive.  When we lose our cool, it because of all the stress that we have in our lives.

When she got her speeding ticket, we say that she is a reckless driver.  When we get a speeding ticket, we deny that we were going too fast and we were the victim of an overzealous policeman who had to make his ticket quota.

When he uses profanity, it is because of a flaw in his character.  When we use profanity, it is because the situation called for it.

Now let’s get real.  Is all this “spin” the truth?


We are very charitable with ourselves aren’t we?  That’s why social psychologists call this self-serving BIAS.  We are biased toward ourselves.

In chapter 7, Pastor Idleman has been discussing projection as another way to dodge responsibility for sin.  Now I guess I have provided another excuse.  When the time comes for us to blame others for our faults, we can say “I have employed self-serving bias.”  That will buy us some time as others will wonder what that means.

Another skill we can employ in the art of placing blame…….

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