“Loaded For Bear”
Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the POWER of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”
When you think of a verbal attack, its easy to envision someone with a lethal weapon in hand, loaded and aimed straight at you. This would certainly be a tip-off that the other person is upset. They are primed and ready to let you have it by letting loose lethal words out of their mouth. In my home state of North Carolina, many times I’ve heard this sort of thing called, being “loaded for bear!”
In the natural, if you plan to bring a bear down, you had better have something more than a fly swat. A double barrel shotgun would be more like it. In the body of Christ, there are plenty of people who have mouths like double barrel shotguns, loaded and aimed at someone who has offended them. They just rare back, so to speak, take aim and pull the trigger---boom! Verbal attack!
When I was growing up, I used to hear this phrase when someone got upset with another person., “You’d better be careful, or I’ll let you have it with both barrels!” We need to be careful so as not to mistake each other in the church or in our homes for grizzly bears. Even if sometimes, they may act like one. Instead, we need to point our weapons of warfare at the real grizzly bear---satan!
Proverbs 18:7, “A fools mouth is his destruction, and his lips are a snare to his soul.”
Obviously, the words we speak is very important. God showed us how important words are to create when He created the heavens and earth, and all things. He used positive faith filled words that carried life in them, not death. Because we can either speak words of life or death to other people and to ourselves, its vitally important that we follow God’s example and pattern. Even more to the point, we have a responsibility to speak God’s words of life to each other instead of words of death.
First of all, we are a ‘word’ planet, if you will. We don’t do anything in this life on earth without the use of words, whether they are spoken out loud, or written down. Words make up our language.
LANGUAGE (dict.)--human speech (words) used to express and communicate thoughts and feelings. A nonverbal system of symbols and signs for communication.”
Thoughts--words unexpressed out loud.
Words---thoughts given expression.
You can see this non-verbal communication through people ‘signing’ with their hands for the deaf and hearing impaired.
Reading Body Language:
Have you ever heard the expression, “I can READ you like a book?” To be able to ‘read’ someone, they have to be sending out a message. Therefore, words can also be expressed through
Body posture and facial gestures:
Pointing the finger at someone (judging) while speaking
Looming over person while speaking in loud voice (control, intimidation)
Speaking to person through clenched teeth (rage)
Placing extra stress on certain words (tone of voice)
Punching the air with fist (anger)
Frowning at mate or others while they’re speaking
Rolling the eyes (impatience)
Sneering at person as if to condescend
Tightening of lips and narrowed eyes (critical, judgmental)
The things listed above (not an exhaustive list) are used in verbal attacks on those close to us such as a spouse, or immediate family members, friends, church family, etc. One of the main messages given out is BLAME. Not only do husbands and wives get into the “blame game” but we engage in it with other people we’re in relationship with, as well as those we don’t even know.
We also blame ‘things’ for causing problems in our lives. The car, the washing machine, the T.V. or the lawn mower. How about your computer? Most people today have one. Have you ever had your computer go haywire and you lost something you were trying to download or copy? Or maybe it froze up on you and you couldn’t get to finish reading an article, etc.? Did you get frustrated and BLAME the computer, saying, “You stupid thing! Why did you have to mess up now? I could just throw you out the window!” I must confess, I have done this when my computer started messing up a few years ago. The solution? I repented, cleaned it out and bought me a new one. It wasn’t the computer’s fault. It was old and had seen its best days.
We even blame strangers for things going wrong in our lives. How about when someone has pulled out in front of your car and you had to slam on brakes to keep from landing in their back seat? The blame automatically goes to the stranger. Why? So we can claim to be innocent. But what if you were following too close behind this stranger and you weren’t paying close enough attention? Then part of the blame is your’s. Ouch! As a child of God, we don’t get by with this sort of thing even though we may think we do.
So, why do we so avidly place blame on other people? The main reasons is because:
#1- We want to appear innocent
#2-We want to be in control of all situations
Free To Take Responsibility:
We see this kind of control in the home between husbands and wives, and also between parents and children. He or she may appear to be powerful on the outside but inwardly, they are fearful and insecure. They may fear being rejected by their spouse, as well as by other people close to them, thus they must maintain control over the situation.
They may fear taking responsibility for their wrong words and actions because it requires honesty and effort. Its much easier to allow the other person to be responsible. How? Through blame. We will one day stand before God and we will give an account of our thoughts, out words and our deeds done here on earth. In light of that, why not be wise and make the choice to become more responsible for the things we say and do today?
Because of the sin nature we inherited from Adam, every person has the desire to appear innocent of all wrong words and deeds. We want the fault to be the other person’s. Therefore, we try to shift the responsibility of our fault over onto out mates, our children, our neighbors, friends, church family---whoever we happen to be in conflict with at the time. The claim is, ‘THEY made me say or do what I did. Its not my fault.’
The truth is, THEY didn’t make you do anything. What you said or did was YOUR choice. And no, the devil didn’t make you do it either. He can only influence and suggest through deception but ultimately, the choice is ours to make. You’ve heard the saying, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. That’s all the devil can do, deceive and influence you to drink his poisonous water, but WE choose whether we will or not. Amen. Praise God!
God gave each of us a free will of choice and we’re responsible for our own thoughts, words and actions, whether they are right or wrong. This is why you often hear said of a spouse or a family member, etc., “YOU’RE the one with the problem, not me!” That’s to say, ‘I wouldn’t have a problem if it wasn’t for you.’ The truth is, you and your spouse both are part of the problems in your household. You’re both a part of the solution also, as you line yourselves up with God’s word, will and way.
He says, be honest and take responsibility for your own actions instead of blaming someone else in order to justify yourself. When you have done this, then offer the gift of love and forgiveness to each other so you can receive God’s forgiveness and blessing.
Ephesians 4:29 (AB)says, “Don’t allow polluting language to come out of your mouth ever” (paraphrase).
Abusive language directed at your mate, your children, or others, is to release pollution into their soul and your’s. This is because you hear the same abusive language as they do and its polluting your soul as well. Jesus said, its not what goes into a man that defiles him, but rather its what comes out of him.
James 3:8 (AB) says (paraphrase), ‘abusive words that comes out of our mouths toward our loved ones and others is a poison.’ In the natural, would you allow toxic chemicals and rotten food to pile up around you? I don’t think any of us would. Yet, we allow toxic and poisonous words to pile up in our marriage relationships, polluting and contaminating them. The same goes for our relationships with our children, family members, etc. Even in the church family.
Baiting The Hook:
People don’t usually realize right away that they are victims of emotional abuse because it isn’t always evident. Sometimes it is very clear but often, it comes clothed and hidden behind veiled remarks. Sometimes, the level of verbal abuse from a person can indicate a pattern of physical abuse. Many times, the two goes hand in hand. Don’t forget, I’m talking about Christian’s and what takes place in a lot of homes behind closed doors that often, the church knows nothing about. Thank God, people are being helped in many churches today for this sort of thing but so much more is needed.
Most verbal attacks will be subtle and thinly veiled, while other times they are blatant and harsh. Either way, they are emotionally damaging. Sometimes, a spouse may throw out a negative statement meant to act as bait. That is, to grab your attention and get you to take hold of the bait of emotional manipulation and respond. For instance, if your spouse said to you, “If you REALLY loved me, you wouldn’t waste our MONEY.” Or, it could be something else they might say. The point is, there are two parts to a statement like this. First, ‘you don’t really love me,’ and secondly, ‘you waste our money.’
If you took the bait you might respond with, “What do you MEAN I waste our money? I DO NOT!” You’re automatically on the defense, ready to defend and protect yourself from the attack. Tempers will flare and before you know it, you’re in an all out verbal war that accomplishes absolutely nothing except to divide you and cause emotional hurt to you both. There is always a pattern to pain and if we can learn to recognize these patterns in our relationships, its possible that we can avoid these all out verbal wars. It should be easy to recognize after a while because it’s the part that hurts.
Did not the Roman soldiers throw out abusive bait to Jesus when He was on the cross? Their language to Him was extremely abusive but how did Jesus respond? I Peter 2:23 says (Paraphrase), ‘He didn’t respond in like kind with insults. He kept His mouth shut and trusted God.’ We have His example to follow now and we have to trust God to help us in executing it in our daily lives as we interact with all kinds of people. Especially those in our homes.
Galatians 5:26 tells us not to provoke and irritate each other. Do you know what it means to provoke another person? Plainly put, it means to ‘stir up trouble.’ Thus you have what is called a ‘troublemaker.’ It means that if you’re provoking your spouse in some way with abusive words. You are pushing them to become angry and resentful toward you. You are creating a commotion, a disturbance in your marriage relationship, be it the husband or the wife. The King James Bible says provoke means to ‘agitate another person’s soul.’ It brings the one being provoked to the point of exasperation and they lose patience with you.
There is another area that is often over-looked and that is the “but you said.” If one or the other spouse has the tendency to be over-bearing, you can easily provoke your spouse by using the, “but you said!” It could be something that one or the other of you said in the past but doesn’t remember at present. The over-bearing spouse keeps bringing it up, pressuring the other one to remember. The spouse being pressured to recall the incident will become irritated and resentful. They will lose patience and even become angry. Perhaps you have already told your husband or wife that you don’t remember what was said since its been a long time ago. In this case, the one doing the pressuring because they want to make a point, should drop the matter.
The “but you said” is an attempt to use the wife or husbands prior words to blame them in a present situation. They will feel provoked and irritated. In all fairness and out of respect for your husband or wife, you could just simply say, “You know, I could be wrong, but did you say such and such in our conversation a while ago?” If your spouse does remember what was said earlier and tells you again and its different than what you believed it to be, don’t keep arguing about it. Don’t keep insisting, “But you said!” This is clearly about control and trying to prove your spouse is wrong and you are right. Of course, this is nothing more than pride at work. A killer to any relationship.
You need to put away pride and humble yourself before God first of all, then before your spouse and admit that you were wrong in your thoughts, words and actions. Once this is done, don’t bring up the subject again. Forget it! This problem happens more times than not in a marriage relationship simply because the one spouse didn’t pay close enough attention to what was being ‘said.’ Then later, they took out of context what had originally been said and made it come out different according to their belief and purposes.
In any kind of verbal attack, regardless of what the bait is that is being thrown out to you, don’t bite down on the hook and get caught up into an angry exchange of hurtful and polluting words. Use the fruit of the Spirit, self-control that God has provided and ignore the bait no matter how tempting it may be. No matter how bad your flesh is having a screaming fit to respond in like kind. Respond instead to what is BEHIND the attack. What is my husband or wife trying to tell me?
This is what Jesus did in His many confrontations with the Pharisees. He always ignored the bait they threw out to trap Him and He went BEHIND the words to get to the HEART of the matter. He always told them the truth concerning their heart motives and it made them angry. The truth is always upsetting because it exposes the outward persona (halo and wings) and exposes who you really are in your heart. “For out of the abundance of the heart (mind), the mouth speaks,“ Jesus said.
In the marriage relationship, you have control and contrary to what some people believes, you don’t have to express every thought you have. In fact, it would be better if you didn’t.
Plus, we’re not to think too highly of ourselves apart from who and what God says we are in His word, less we get into pride. We are everything God says we are in His Word, nothing more and nothing less.
We must get to a place in all of our relationships with family and others where we allow the agape love of God to flow freely and bring healing to wounded and bruised emotions. If we will do this, the Bible says, peace will be umpire in our lives. And who doesn’t need peace in the days we’re living in now?
Colossians 3:15,“And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) of God rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts (deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state) to the which also you are called (members of Christ’s) in one body; and be thankful (appreciate, giving praise to God always).”
When you and your spouse are engaged in conversation, let your words be non-threatening and wrapped in kindness. The goal of both of you should be to resolve issues reasonably and lovingly with understanding and patience. Forgiving each other as needed to reconcile and restore peace and harmony between you. Is there ever a time to be angry? Can we be angry? Anger, if properly discerned, can let you know when an injustice has been done to you. Its not a license to attack the other person. The Bible says, “Be angry and sin not.” Be angry at the devil because he’s the real culprit who comes to steal, kill and destroy all relationships. Especially the marriage relationship and other family relationships as well, (John 10:10).
Let me say again, instead of taking the bait of a verbal attack, learn to listen for the real message your husband or wife is trying to get across to you. As my daddy used to say, “You have to learn to read between the lines.”
Proverbs 15:1, “A soft answer turns away wrath; but grievous words stir up anger.”
A soft word spoken in response would come forth in kindness, patience and affection, from out of an attitude of love and grace. Does not water put out a fire? A soft answer also puts out the fire of an abusive verbal attack being instigated by an angry husband or wife. Words that are used abusively toward another person, Proverbs says, they are grievous words. Harsh words spoken by either the husband or wife can cause deep mental anguish to the other one under attack.
Grievous words causes annoyance, frustration and tends to stir up anger. In light of this, when your spouse said, “If you REALLY loved me, YOU wouldn’t waste our money,” address the real issue and respond, “If I’ve failed to show you how much I love you and how important you are to me, I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?” Like pouring water on a fire, the fire of the verbal attack will be extinguished. You will have helped to unload that lethal double-barrel shotgun of angry abuse.
It takes two to have an argument and it begins with one of the two being the attacker and the other being the victim. The real truth is, in the end of things, both of you are victims.
John 10:10, “The thief comes not but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy; I (Jesus) am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
Nobody ever comes out of an angry exchange of abusive words without being hurt emotionally in the process. On the other hand, if one of you decides not to participate in an attempted argument remember, that leaves the other person to argue by themselves.
When you verbally attack your spouse, or your children, what usually comes out of your mouth is harsh words in the form of criticism. It is an assault on their very soul because this is the area where we get bruised and hurt. The barage of your critical words, regardless of the reason, is like a downpour of unrelenting rain, whereby your spouse or your children will wilt under it like a delicate flower. Those unrelenting and critically harsh words coming from you will actually feel like they are being beat down emotionally.
As husbands and wives and as parents, we must stop the damaging flow because the harmful effects it has on the soul of our loved one’s can take years to come to a place of healing and restoration. It is God’s desire to heal but He has to get a wounded soul to the place where the person can receive the loving touch of God’s healing power.
We must come to a place in our marriage relationships, in all relationships really, where we stop sparing with each other on a surface level and get down underneath the harsh and unrelenting criticisms to the truth. This takes a willingness to humble ourselves and communicate honestly to gain understanding. We must also be willing to take responsibility for our own actions instead of blaming the other person.
Going back to the husband or wife who said, “If you really loved me…” the one obviously was feeling insecure in the other one’s love. The real problem underneath everything is insecurity and unbelief in God’s love for them. Plus, they may feel threatened that something else has your attention and care and they don’t. If only husbands and wives, parents and children, church family, etc., would learn to honestly communicate with each other---that is, take off the masks, learn to listen with their hearts. What tremendous power would be released to defeat satan and his hordes. How it would release God’s glory in our midst, whether that’s in the home, in the church or in the marketplace. Amen.
I can’t stress it enough that for the sake of our intimate relationships with our spouses, we just need to be bare-bone honest about where we are emotionally and spiritually. It first begins with our heavenly Father God and then extends to our families and church family. Just be honest without excuse and express our heart in the tender love of God. We must come to a place where we can honestly express ourselves in a godly fashion and not continue to hide behind religious masks. If we would only allow God’s love to flow freely in our relationships in the home, in the church and in the marketplace, we would experience restoration as well as more peace and harmony. We would express more of the fruit of the Spirit rather than the fruit of the flesh.
Get Back To Simplicity:
It’s amazing when you stop and think about how we tend to complicate matters when really, the solution to the problem is usually simple. That’s not to say that there aren’t more serious issues such as separation and divorce. Especially when a couple has small children. Still, even before a couple gets to the point of divorce, the solution is still simple when they turn their marriage problems and themselves over to God.
When you get the Holy Spirit involved in the marriage, the solution He reveals to you will be simple. Repent and be restored to love, peace and harmony. Repenting is only hard and complicated to a person when self-centered pride and unforgiveness is involved. Due to a lack of communication the problems in the marriage piled up like layers on an onion. Thus, you create more problems on top of problems that were already there and you end up making what was relatively simple become complicated. We all are
guilty of complicating things in our lives that are relatively simple.
We need to take care to simplify our lives and relationships in this day and hour we’re living in. We need ‘agreement’ in our homes and in the church so we can ultimately be in agreement with God and His Word. “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). You can’t. The two of you will walk divided and Jesus said, “ a house divided against itself will fall” (Matt.12:25).
We even have a tendency to complicate our relationship with God, our heavenly Father. Relationship with Him is simple. He is not complicated and His word is not complicated. Holy Spirit told me once, “All My truth is simple.” He also said, He was untangling His word that man had complicated. I heard a preacher say once that, “the word of God is so simple that we have to have help to misunderstand it.” When the Bible says, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”(Romans 10:13),” that is so simple even a child can understand it. Amen!
Let us take care to stop complicating God’s word, relationships and everything else in our lives. When things get complicated in your marriage relationship, or other relationships, it becomes difficult and when its difficult, there is no peace. There is tension and unrest. Trust in the pure simplicity of God’s word when He says, “I’ll help you in your time of trouble. All you have to do is just call on Me. All you have to do is just cast your care over on Me, because I care for you” (I Peter 5:7).Trusting in the Lord with all your heart and soul, then acting on your belief in Him, those complications will begin to unravel and come into plain view where the Anointing will help you deal with them righteously. You will be at peace, not only with your heavenly Father, but with your mate and all others in Jesus name. Praise God!
“I Don’t Care!”
How many times have you said in relation to your spouse, God, your children, your family, church family, “I don’t care.” So many people in our modern day world has very little care for people. This is true in and out of the home and family. Most of the time, saying, “I don’t care” is usually said in relation to a spouse or children in the home. Or some family member outside the home.
Usually, when people make such a fierce declaration of “I don’t care,” what they’re really saying is, “I have very little emotion where you’re concerned. My emotions are numb.” The truth behind this is, they are trying hard NOT to care. They are trying very hard to keep you from seeing any emotion in them at all. They do this because of past hurts they have received from you and it’s a way of gaining back control.
They don’t want you to think that you have any power and influence over their emotions. Therefore, they are trying very hard to show you that they are in control. On the outside, it may look like they are void of any emotion toward you but underneath that cold and steely surface, they are feeling very emotional.
Not only is the one spouse experiencing hurt and anger but also the fear of rejection. Our thinking sometimes will be, “If you don’t care about ME, I don’t care about YOU. Its hopeless, and I just don‘t care if you care.” Both the husband and wife may care very deeply but there is no real communication---no real environment of intimacy created by the two of you whereby you’re able to express yourself freely without criticism.
We must first of all, anchor our hope in God before we attach it to people and things because people are fallible human beings. They will fail you and let you down time after time, but God, who is faithful and ever true, will never fail you. Praise the Lord!
I Corinthians 1:9 (AB), “God is faithful (reliable, trustworthy, and therefore, ever true to His promise, and He can be depended on); by Him you were called into companionship and participation with His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.”
Again, we need to uncomplicate our relationships and simplify our lives the way Jesus taught us to do. Pursue after peace and harmony as we love God first, then love one another and finally ourselves to fulfill the commandment of Jesus. It is not impossible for husbands and wives, parent and children, the church family, to get to this desired place In God through faith and obedience to His Word. Amen. WITH God, ALL things become possible. WITHOUT God, it is impossible to have a truly happy and prosperous marriage relationship or any other kind of relationship the way He intended (Luke 1:37).
Have you taken a few moments to observe people today? It seems that there are so many people who are angry. They are impatient and rude, showing no respect for others or for people’s property whatsoever. You find these people everywhere you go it seems. I think the devil enjoys setting up traps of this kind because you’re actively trying to stay on the ‘love walk’ toward people, in and out of the church. His purpose is to trip you up and cause you to sin against God through one of the fruits of the flesh. On the other hand, God allows the test because its a part of our schooling in being and doing things His way righteously.
I was in the grocery store one time doing my shopping and minding my own business. I went to turn into the next aisle only to find two women with shopping carts blocking the aisle. I stopped and said politely to them, “Excuse me.” One of the women gave me a look that said, “I was here first and I’m not moving until I’m ready.’ I had to wonder what this woman’s problem was? I didn’t even know her. They didn’t move out of the way.
The women ignored me and so once again, I said, “Excuse me,” a little bit louder. They still ignored me so I said it yet again. By now, I was beginning to feel myself getting irritated. In other instances with this kind of problem of the person not moving their cart, I’ve had to move it out of the way myself. When I’ve had to do this, I would get a less than friendly look from the other person.
As long as we keep our heart motives in line with God and we treat people with the same kindness we want to be treated with, then Father God will reward us. Of course, in this situation, my flesh wanted to just run all over these women with my buggy. The moment I had the thought, Holy Spirit said, “Show them Me.” To show Him to other’s is to demonstrate His love and patience. I knew exactly what He meant and I have to admit, I struggled with it for a second or two. I had to jerk my flesh into obeying and tell it to show kindness and respect the way Jesus would. After all, I was on the ‘love walk’ and here was a test. I certainly didn’t want to fail it.
So, all the while I was politely saying ‘excuse me’ to these two women trying to get them to move, under my breath, I said, “Lord, can’t I just run over their toes even a little bit?” I heard a firm, “No, show them Me.” Because I love the Lord and I truly wanted to please Him, I did what He told me to do. And because I had obeyed the Lord, I instantly felt at peace in my heart. The women finally moved their carts and I went on my way.
This was in the grocery store but what about on the highway? You find the same angry people on the road. An angry person behind the wheel of a car is not only a danger to themselves but they can be a hazard to everyone else, either in the car with them or as the other driver. People like this have been called, “hot heads,‘ meaning they’re not expressing rational sense. This person’s emotions will be running high which means, they are more apt to take unnecessary chances that not only endangers their life but the lives of others. They often are not thinking rationally and with common sense. They are a hazard on the road and thus, you have what we call, ‘road rage.’ It just seems like a lot of people are primed and ready today, that is, they’re loaded for bear and their attitude is, ‘one wrong move and I’ll let you have it with both barrels.’
The code of the world is this, ‘Be sure to get the other person before they get you. And if they do get you, don’t let them get away with it---get them back.’ God said, “Vengeance is mine.” Its not ours. He says that if an injustice has been done to us, entrust it to Him and He will take care of it in His own timing and way. Wanting to pay people back for wrong’s inflicted upon them is done in all areas of life. Unfortunately, its seen in the home as well as in the church body.
We have been told to come OUT of the world’s system (II Cor.6:17) and operate in the system of the Kingdom of God where love is the principle law of the Kingdom. We’re told to separate ourselves from the way the world lives and operates. We’re to be IN the world but not OF the world. Jesus said that we, as born again Christian’s, are the salt of the earth, so go on out there and sprinkle yourselves among those who are lost and have not the flavor of God.
God has shown us how to live a separated life through His word, through His blood that cleanses us from all unrighteousness and by the Holy Spirit’s sanctification. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6). We follow HIS way, not our way or the worlds way. Our Lord never went about to ‘get’ anyone. Acts 10:38 says, ‘Jesus went about doing GOOD to people.’ In light of this, it brings us to ask ourselves a vitally important question--- are WE going about doing good in our relationships, in our churches and in our communities? Are we doing good to people close to us, even if they have wronged us in some way? If not, then we definitely need to make some changes.
A Broken Record:
Proverbs 17:9, “He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love, but he who repeats and harps on a matter separates even close friends.”
Husbands and wives will often keep bringing up a matter that happened a long time ago, or even something that happened recently as a way to accuse and blame. When you do this, you’re harping on the offense. You’re dwelling on the matter, playing it over and over in your mind. If you harp on the issue to your spouse, it stands to reason, you will do so with unkind words. Those unkind words will become tedious to the one having to hear them. After a while, the constant harping on the past incident will become monotonous. This is why you often hear the expression, “You sound just like a broken record.”
When a groove on a record is broken and defective, the needle will become stuck in it and play the same thing over and over and over until you stop it. This can become very irritating and grate on your nerves. It’s also what the Bible means when it says, don’t harp on a matter. Don’t get stuck on one thing and keep going over and over it, harassing your spouse when the incident happened a long time ago. Like the record, its worn out and grown old by now. Its in the past, therefore, throw out the old record that is only fit for the garbage and get a new one. That is, you and your spouse make some new and good memories that you can share and enjoy together in loving harmony and communion.
Plain As Day Ministries
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