Florida Man Shot Florida Man

All because of a political argument on Facebook.

It’s an old saying.

Win the man, not the argument.

A Tampa, Florida man should have heeded that advice on Monday. Brian Sebring, a 44-year-old father of two drove to the home of Alex Stephens and shot him twice. The two were in a heated political debate online that eventually found its way into Alex Stephens’ driveway where Sebring shot him once in the thigh and once in the buttocks. Stephens is expected to make a full recovery. Brian Sebring will likely spend a considerable amount of time in jail.

No one is sure who won the argument.

But Brian Sebring’s wife and kids, at least for the foreseeable future, have lost the man who was supposed to love and lead them.

All because of a political argument on Facebook.

For the most part, online debates are sort of like church signs. I’m a pastor so I’ve seen my fair share of church signs. They’re usually terrible.

Ch- - ch. What’s missing? ur.

Turn or burn.

Sign broken. Message inside.

Eternity. Smoking or non-smoking?

I’ve been in some form of pastoral ministry for two decades. Never once have I met a former skeptic and recovering meth addict who decided to become a follower of Jesus because he drove by a church sign that said, “Get right or get left.” Most church signs accomplish nothing more than making the creator feel like he’s really accomplished something.

The same is usually true for political arguments on the Internet.

The Bernie Sanders supporter who suddenly began to embrace Austrian economics and religious liberty because a guy on Facebook called him a, “Libtard,” does not exist.

This is not to say that arguments do not matter but rather that they carry more weight when they are supported by a lifestyle that matches the argument. You might not win your opponent over to your side of a particular debate. However, by demonstrating hospitality, empathy, and basic listening skills you could win his friendship. Twenty years from now, that will matter more than the time when you "slammed" him IN ALL CAPS FOLLOWED BY A MILLION EXCLAMATION POINTS AND ANGRY EMOJI FACES!!!!!

The dangerous times we are living in provide us with an opportunity. We can join in on the battle, either figuratively or literally, and make it our goal in life to win the argument at all costs. Or we can build our lives around winning the man. The former is done through brute force. The latter through sympathy, compassion, and critical thinking.

A year from now, Brian Sebring’s kids won’t remember the details of the online argument that their father tried to win.

But they will remember the man that they lost.

All because of a political argument on Facebook.

No. 1-3

The problem is confirmation bias: you want to be right about how you see the world, so you seek out information which confirms your beliefs and avoid contradictory evidence and opinions. As a society, we are locked into this now....we are over-invested in black vs. white versions of the world....and are unable to see gray...or appreciate that someone else might have different....but legitimate values. We immediately strike at their intelligence, their sincerity, and morality. The rhetoric is at the point where for some only violence remains. We need to understand the problem so people can change their behavior


I love those church signs


“I respectfully disagree...” would be a great way to start a discussion.