Etiquette Archives

Take Time to Encourage That Rude Person

George Truett was a very effective pastor for many years in Texas. One day while hunting with his best friend, this pastor accidentally killed his friend.

Several years after that accident, his daughter said, “I never heard dad laugh again after that day.”

Pastor Truett had a radio program. He always closed the broadcast with the these words:

Be good to everybody, because everybody is having a tough time.

Why would he close the broadcast with these words? He understood personally what burdens other people might be carrying. This tragic incident encouraged him to have compassion toward other people.

Every day we run into people who seem rude and harsh. Because of their behavior we find it difficult to like them…yet many times, there is a reason for their behavior. What a heavy heart and horrible situation in their lives might they be hiding that cause their rudeness.

Since God offers His presence to us during our darkest moments, shouldn’t we in turn offer others our compassion to those who are hurting around us.

Father, grant us the candor to admit to each other that sometimes life overwhelms us.
And grant us the courage to help others find help—and to seek it when we need it.

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Important Communication Guidelines


  1. Be a good listener. Do not answer a person before he has stopped talking. Proverbs 18:13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.
  2. Think before you speak. Proverbs 15:23 A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!
  3. Do not use silence on a person to show your anger or frustration with him. Explain the reason that you are angry or frustrated. Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
  4. Do not become involved in quarrels. Proverbs 20:3 It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.
  5. Do not respond in uncontrolled anger. Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
  6. When you are wrong, admit your offence and ask forgiveness. Proverbs 20:6 Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?
  7. When you do forgive someone, never bring the offence up to him again. Genuine forgiveness means: I won’t bring it up to the person again-I won’t bring it up to anyone else-I won’t let my mind brood on it. Colossians 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do
  8. If someone verbally attacks, criticizes, or blames you, do not respond same way. Romans 12:21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
  9. Try to understand the other person’s opinion. 1 Peter 3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
  10. Do not blame or criticize the other person. Try to encourage and edify. Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
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When To Be Blunt and When To Be Tactful

This article  was written by Pastor Greg Baker and taken from Christian Baptist Articles–For more of his articles go to: articles.christianbaptists.com

Sometimes your bluntness just gets you into more trouble. Sometimes, your tactfulness doesn’t seem to convey the magnitude of the situation or of your feelings. So when should you do either? This article contains guiding, helpful principles for both.

PRINCIPLES FOR TACTFULNESS

Proverbs 25:11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

Ecclesiastes 10:12 The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.

There are several principles that ought to be followed in regards to knowing when a tactful or diplomatic response is better than a blunt one.

  1. In all personal relationships. Treat your relationships like you would a fragile and expensive piece of china. Remember that your words can act like a sword (Proverbs 26:22). Unless you have a relationship that is flat out wrong or destructive, treat each one as very special, very important. The strength of these relationships is often determined on the strength of your communication. I believe that God meant for you to find joy and happiness within your relationships-including, naturally, your relationship with Him. Possessions and material wealth is a far, far second. Being blunt and forceful in your relationships will bring more conflict than joy.
  2. When you must correct someone. The manner in which you correct someone often determines how they receive it. I understand that there will always be some that take correction badly, no matter how it comes, but even so, your words ought to demonstrate how much you care. It is important to be tactful when you correct someone.
  3. When you must talk about other people’s relationships. Nothing will make you an enemy faster than appearing to intrude into someone else’s business. Telling others how to run their relationships is sure to send the wrong message and to be counterproductive. Learning to be tactful in these situations will help prevent you from making unnecessary enemies.
  4. When you are trying to help. Most of us like to help, but how we come across will determine if someone will accept our help or not. People will reject your assistance if they misunderstand your intentions. Even when you aren’t trying to correct someone-just want to help-your words may come across as condemning and people don’t take to that very well.
  5. When you need help or cooperation. Some time ago, a woman called me up asking for help. Normally, I try to help anyone if it is within my means. But this woman, before I even said hello, began to chew me out for the way other people had refused to help her. She went on and on about how no one cared, no one would even try to help, and she made me feel that it was all my fault. Sorry to say, I took offense and told her that with an attitude like that, I’d be surprised if anyone ever helped her. I regret my remarks, but if she would have been more tactful, I probably would have tried to help. She made it so that I didn’t want to help.
  6. When someone is hurting. Don’t be cruel to the grieving. Even if what you say is the truth, a little bit of tactfulness will go a long way in helping someone. When people are hurting, particularly if they went ahead and did something stupid against the advice of others, an ‘I told you so’ is grievous to that person. It doesn’t help. Learn to be tactful around those that are hurt-even if they deserve what they got. They still don’t deserve you adding to their pain.
  7. When you want someone to do something. This is a big one. Trying to get people to do something that you think they ought to do difficult even if you are tactful. But being blunt will only cause a wall to be raised between the two of you. If you come across as a know it all, bossy, more holier than thou, or even condescending, you’ll find people having no wish to do what you want them to do. I’ve never tasted coffee. The reason for it is just before I went off to college, a man asked me, “Are you taking a large coffee pot with you?” I frowned and replied, “No, I don’t drink coffee.” He smirked and, in a very annoying voice, countered, “Oh you will. You will.” I got so irritated at his ‘I know more than you’ tone of voice that I vowed I’d never drink coffee. I had nothing against it, per say, but now I had a reason not to. And I haven’t. Sound silly? Of course it is, but this happens all too often. Learn to be more tactful.

PRINCIPLES FOR BLUNTNESS

There are times when being blunt is necessary. Although, in my opinion, it is more important to know when you need to be tactful and gracious. These will get you much further in life than being blunt. Still, bluntness does have its place.

Galatians 2:14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

Here we see Paul being blunt about a mistake that Peter had made. In other scriptures, we see Jesus and John the Baptist verbally flogging the Pharisees. Their bluntness is a matter of record, but there is a lesson to be learned from it as well.

Here are a few principles that allow, and even call for, bluntness:

  1. When it is vital to get someone’s attention. If your child is playing in the middle of the street and a car is approaching, you’re not going to be diplomatic about trying to get him to move. You’ll start yelling, bluntly, at both your child and the driver hoping to get either or both of their attention to protect your child. Sometimes, it is essential that we get someone’s attention. This is usually to keep them from hurting themselves or hurting others.
  2. When speaking in crowds or in general terms. It is when you are singling someone out that you ought to be tactful. But telling the truth about, say, political corruption may offend some, but is appreciated by the majority. As a pastor, I often speak bluntly about the social woes that plague our society. Some may not like it. But the majority will appreciate someone who is not going to beat around the bush. Even in casual conversation with only one person, you can be blunt when speaking in general terms. In fact, the bluntness is appreciated and is often preferable to political correctness. You can’t appease the masses. So don’t try. Be honest in such situations. We live in a society where feelings have trumped relationships. We are more concerned with someone’s feelings than we are with establishing good solid relationships. Well, I’m offended at such a preposterous notion. See, you can’t please everyone, so in crowds or speaking in general terms, you can be blunt. Not that you must, just that you can.
  3. When you must protect someone. People are worth protecting. A good relationship is worth salvaging. If someone comes to you to tear down the reputation of another, send him on a way with a blunt, “I don’t listen to trash.” If someone tries to seduce my children to try drugs and I catch him, I’ll have plenty of blunt words to say. I’m not seeking to change the dealer, but rather to protect my own children. If both are friends, I would revert back to tactfulness. Paul had to protect all the Gentiles from the corruptive thinking that Peter had fallen prey to. This wasn’t about Peter as much as it was about thousands and thousands of other people.
  4. When you must protect a value. Morals and values are the ties that bind relationships. When two people share the same values and morals they invariably have a closer relationship than those that do not. These values need protecting. If it’s just you under attack, you can ignore it. But when it involves others, you may need to go to bat for them. Sometimes bluntness is the best action.
  5. After all tactfulness has failed and it’s still necessary to say it. There will be times when you try to be tactful and the person you’re talking to either just doesn’t get it or refuses to hear it. Be sure that it is indeed one of those times before deciding to be blunt. The desire to say something can be stronger than the need to say something. If you still feel that you must be blunt, then this is the time to do it. Be warned, you’ll probably cause hurt feelings. So if it comes to this point, be prepared to help heal any injured feelings that you might cause.

Author Resource: Greg S. Baker is a Pastor, Counselor, and Author specializing in building and strengthening relationships. Visit our website at: fitlyspoken.org

For more books and resources on how to communicate better, express yourself, and strengthen social skills. Check out our book, ‘Fitly Spoken’, a Christian based book that explores the intricacies of human communication and expression in relationships.

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Keeping Unity in Your Church

Because church splits, fights, and bickering are far too common in churches today, we, as Christian women must do all we can to help keep unity in our churches. Most of the time, people get upset over the way things are done, not why they are done. If your church is experiencing disunity, here are some practical suggestions to help you keep unity in your church.

• Before coming to services or meetings, bathe meetings fervently in prayer. The more you focus on prayer and keeping an intimate relationship with Jesus and His Word, the more you will be able to bring unity to your church. Psalms 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

• Many times people jump to conclusions because they have limited facts; make sure you know all the facts. Proverbs 18:13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.

• When talking with other members, focus on solutions and not on other people. Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.

• Never compare your church or her leaders to other churches and their leaders. 2 Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

• If your church leaders are not corrupt, stand up for them. When you criticize your leaders, you tear down the unity in your church. Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls…

• Focus on furthering the cause of Christ and not on furthering your own desires. When everyone in the church wants to see the cause of Christ go forward, the more church will be unified. Psalms 40:16 Let all those that seek Thee rejoice and be glad in Thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified.

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Giving and Receiving Criticism

When a person gives us criticism, he usually wants to show us that we could have done or said things in a better way. Because of our pride, criticism is not easy for us to receive. There have been times in my life when I have been criticized, and…as hard as it was for me to take… I had to agree with my critic. I could have done things better, or I could have said something in a better way. There are times in all of our lives when we must give or receive criticism.

Here are a few guidelines to help you if you find yourself in one of those situations.

Guidelines for Giving Criticism

• Wait for your feelings and thoughts to be calm before speaking.
• Know your intent. Are you giving criticism because of your pride.
• Know your desired outcome.
• Don’t criticize the person, criticize his behavior. Behavior is something a person can change.
• Avoid sarcasm, and the words like “always”, “never” or “should.”
• Be prepared for a variety of responses.
• Remain open and flexible.
• Don’t apologize for confronting the person.
• Don’t forget to compliment the person that you are criticizing.

It is important for us to plan ways to receive criticism. If we do not prepare ourselves to receive criticism, we might allow our feelings to get out of control, distort our thinking, and say things we could regret.

Guidelines for Receiving Criticism

• Say, “I would like to think about this and discuss it with you later.” This will give you time to reorganize your thoughts and develop a godly response.
• Request more information by asking questions about the behavior you are being criticized.
• Agree with part or some of your critic. Just maybe… your critic could be right.
• Recognize that your critic has an opinion. Not everyone sees things the way you see them.
• Use a little humor.
• Take time to really listen and plan your responses before you speak..
• Establish and maintain eye contact.
• Encourage your critic to tell you exactly what they expect from you.

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Texas Place Setting

 

Proper Place Setting

1. Salad bowl 2.Napkin 3. Salad fork 4. Dinner fork 5. Dessert fork 6. Dinner plate
7. Knife (blade facing plate) 8. Teaspoon 9. Iced tea spoon 10. Coffee cup
11. Iced tea glass 12. Water glass

If you want to make your guests feel more comfortable, place dessert forks on individual dessert plates.

If you are not going to serve iced tea, skip placing ice tea spoon next to teaspoon.

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Great Information about Modesty and Dress

Dear Ladies,

Recently I came across this article that  is full of teaching  you could use in your churches to help your women and teen girls.  I have permission to reprint a small portion of the article, but I encourage you to go to his blog and read the full article  http://www.neednotfret.com/

ONE MAN’S PLEA FOR CHRISTIAN WOMEN TO DRESS MODESTLY              

Written by Kevin L. Howard   

If you’re a mom, don’t underestimate your influence over your girls in the way they think about themselves and your boys in the way they think about women.  The father’s role is vital too.  If fathers start instilling the virtues of modesty while their children are young, then these same fathers might not fret as much when their sons and daughters blossom into teens.  If a man already has a teen daughter, he can hopefully still shape her outlook on her body.  He must show her love, but remain firm that she isn’t free to dress like a streetwalker.  And he can have the same positive influence on his sons, teaching them to respect women and to cherish sex as a gift of marriage. Train your children now while they’re young.  Teach them not just to dress modestly but to think modestly.  After all, modesty is a heart issue.

Tips on dressing modestly

Styles come and go, but class is always in fashion.  Keep skirts at knee level, and don’t wear tight shirts or jeans.  Exposed belly buttons, backs, underwear, and mid riffs aren’t appropriate in mixed company.  Choose pants that don’t have writing on the seat, or else you’re asking men to stare at your butt.

Jeramy Clark gives some practical tips for women to test their apparel before they leave the house.

“When bending over in a loose-fitting or scoop-neck blouse, always place your hand over the neckline.

“When wearing a button-down blouse, stand sideways and look at the buttonholes in a mirror.  If they spread too far apart or gape too much, you’ll expose your chest.  Pin between the buttons if you need to.

“For all blouses, be conscious about your bra showing.  Be especially careful with the armholes or straps of sleeveless blouses.  Just the sight of your undergarments can cause a guy to stumble.

“When wearing a dress or skirt, always stand in the light and check if you need a slip.  Even a lightweight black dress can reveal your silhouette (in other words, be see-through).  Your best bet is to always wear a slip.  And if you can’t find a slip short enough for your skirt, chances are your skirt is too short!

“When wearing a skirt or dress, always be conscious of the way you’re sitting.  You may think I don’t need to mention this obvious fact, but you’d be surprised how often girls fail to sit modestly.

“When wearing a skirt, be aware that changing positions will cause your skirt to bunch or pull.  Smooth your skirt down when you sit down or stand up.

 “When choosing a bra, remember that lace and seams will show through many tops.  Choose a seamless or smooth bra whenever possible.  (And remember, it’s almost pointless to wear a bra if the material of your blouse is too thin.  I don’t have to tell you what happens when you get cold.  Protect yourself with a thicker material.)

 “The best advice I could give you is to stand in front of a mirror before you go out.  Bend over, turn side to side, turn around, and check everything.  Be aware of what different kinds of clothing can reveal.

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Do Your Part to Make Your Church Friendly?

Today many people have given up on church because  when they do attend, they don’t see a genuine love and acceptance for visitors, new members, or even each other. 

Visitors come into our churches hoping to find love and acceptance, yet in many churches all they find is isolation and rejection.   Not one person  reaches out to them. Think of the difference you could make in someone’s life if you would just reach out and welcome that visitor or new member.

 Too often we leave the job of hospitality to the pastor, who is usually already overextended.   We walk into our church, sit on our same pew,  and talk to our same friends.  The excuse that many Christians make is that “even Jesus himself had a close, inner circle of friends. We just can’t get around to everyone.  Too many Christians seem to be drawn to those who are their friends and those who are like them.

What should we be doing?

  • Be friendly to visitors: “Welcome!  It’s so good to see you this morning.”
  • Be friendly to the poor and outcast. (Even if you don’t feel like it)
  • Be a friend to a visitor.  Invite him to lunch or to your house for coffee.
  • If someone comes in alone, sit with him and make him feel welcome.
  • Sit on a different pew and visit with a different member.
  • Avoid just visiting with your clique.
  • Request phone number of a visitor; send him a friendly text during the week.
  • Next church fellowship, sit with someone you don’t know.
  • After services, go up to someone you don’t know and talk to him.
  • Don’t make anyone feel like he doesn’t belong in your church.
  • Send an encouraging email or note to a member you didn’t see last Sunday.
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Marital Guidelines for Communicating

Marital Communication Principles

  • I am always communicating – even when I am silent.
  • I must allow my words and my nonverbal actions to communicate the same message.
  • I must make our home a loving home which offers the security my spouse needs in order for  my spouse to share  his/ her innermost thoughts.
  • I must not allow troublesome relationships outside my marriage interfere with communication.
  • I must maintain close physical contact, when I am seriously communicating with my spouse.
  • I must develop my listening skills and try not to interrupt my spouse when I communicate.
  • I will focus on the problem and will not attack my spouse when I communicate.
  • I will be responsible for initiating communication.
  • I will make sure what I say is true and endeavor to communicate it in love.
  • I will be aware of my tone of voice, my inflection and volume when I communicate.
  • I will endeavor to avoid nagging and complaining when I communicate.
  • I will endeavor to use kind words and be a source of my spouse’s happiness. 

Proverbs 12:18 There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.

 Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

Proverbs 18:13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.

Proverbs 25:11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

 Lord, You know I want to communicate with my spouse in a kind and loving way.  Remind me of these principles as I communicate.  I realize that You are the only One who can help me communicate properly.    

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Teaching Manners to Your Children

If you study the meaning of the two words manners and etiquette, you will discover that the two words have completely different meanings.  Manners are the way people do things, the way they behave.  Etiquette, on the other hand, is more like a set of rules to govern polite behavior. 

A person may have perfect etiquette but have very poor manners. You might have heard someone say, “Boy, is that woman rude!” The woman might know all the correct rules of etiquette, but if she is rude and not kind to others, she has poor manners.

Etiquette is not just eating with the proper utensils or putting on an act in front of other people in order to impress them, it is displaying genuine kindness toward others. Good manners and proper etiquette is really just being kind and unselfish. It is treating others the way you would like to be treated.

Matthew 7:12 says, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.”

A good manner to teach a child early is: Do not interrupt other people when they are speaking. One way to teach a child this principle:

If the parent is speaking, and the child wants to speak to him, the parent should instruct his child to touch his arm. The child’s touch on the parent’s arm signals the parent that the child wants to speak, and it signals the child that his parent will speak to him after he has finished his conversation.

If a parent fails to teach his child good manners at home, he should not expect that child to have good manners in public.

The greatest manner a parent can teach a child is treat everyone with respect and dignity. 

Many times parents teach a child a lesson when a various situation arises. If his child stares at a handicapped child, the parent says, “Don’t stare! It is not nice to stare!” It seems it might have been better to teach the child in advance. The following are a few manners that you might like to discuss with your children.

Manners when he walks on the street: 

  • Do not walk in groups so that you block others.
  • Do not stop to talk in the middle of a sidewalk. Step to the side to allow people to move around you.
  • Do not stare at or make fun of anyone, no matter how strange he may look.
  • Do not be a litterbug.
  • Do not mark on buildings or other public property.
  • If you bump into someone, say you are sorry.

Manners before he spends time in another person’s home:

  • Do not open a closed door until you have knocked and waited for permission to enter.
  • Do not go through anyone else’s belongings without asking his permission.
  • Do not read another person’s mail unless he asks you to read it.
  • Do not discuss the private affairs of your family with outsiders.
  • If you make a mess, offer to help clean up the mess.
  • If you spend the night with someone, make your bed and straighten up after yourself.
  • Be sure to say thank you for a meal or if he spends the night at his friend’s house.
  • Do not listen in on private conversations.
  • Do not whisper in front of another person.
  • Do not whine, tattletale, brag, or say mean things about others.
  • Do not ask personal questions like, “How much did that cost or how much do you weigh?”

Manners at the table:  Children do not learn proper table manners overnight. It takes years of repetition and training to teach them. Constant repetition and practice of good manners are the best teachers.  The best way to teach children good manners is by example. One of the benefits of families eating meals together is that it gives parents an opportunity to teach their children good table manners.

  • Even if you have a busy family, you should find times during the week to sit down with your family and enjoy meals together.
  • Use proper settings for table even for take-out meals.
  • Give young children the responsibility of setting the table. This is the best way to begin teaching them good table manners. Put place mats, napkins, silverware, plates, cups and bowls within the reach of your children so that children can easily reach the items to set the table.
  • For small children, buy dishes that do not break. If he drops a dish, it will not matter.
  • Demonstrate to children the proper place and use for each piece of utensil.
  • Demonstrate to children the correct way to hold their utensils.

If parents begin teaching manners to their toddlers, they will have a grasp on basic manners when they get older.

The following is a list of table manners that children should know: 

  • Wash hands and face before sitting down to the table.
  • Sit down in proper seats and put napkins in their laps.
  • Do not begin eating until everyone has sat down and been served.
  • Stay in seats without wiggling in chairs, going under the table, or getting up and down.
  • Say, “Excuse Me,” and ask permission to leave the table.
  • Do not put elbows on the table.
  • Keep mouths closed while chewing.
  • Do not put large pieces in mouths; pieces should be bite sized.
  • Never reach for any food that is not directly in front of you. Ask someone to pass it using the words, “May I please” and “Thank you”.
  • If you are passing food, do not help yourself first.
  • Participate in conversations during meals, but do not interrupt others when they are talking.
  • Do not make slurping, burping, squealing, singing, humming sounds at the table.
  • It is never kind or polite to make negative comments about the food.
  • When finished eating say, “May I please be excused?”
  • Thank the Cook.
  • If your food is too hot, wait for it to cool. Do not blow on it.
  • If you put food in your mouth that is too hot, do not spit it out. Reach for water and take a quick swallow.
  • Bring your food up to your mouth rather than bending over to reach it.

Manners for formal restaurants:

  • Do not be upset if you spill something. It happens all the time. The waiter will clean it up.
  • Do not pick up your silverware if you drop it on the floor. Ask the waiter to replace it for you.
  • Spread your napkin on your lap as soon as you sit down.
  • For different courses, use silverware farthest from your plate first.
  • Do not comb your hair at the table.
  • Never place handbag, glasses, or keys on the table.
  • Never blow your nose with your napkin.
  • Do not use a toothpick in public.
  • Avoid the tendency to mix your foods together.
  • Place used knife or fork on the plate not on the table.
  • Use the tip of a knife or a small piece of bread to push small pieces of food onto fork; never use your fingers for this job.
  • If you need to leave the table say, “May I be excused for a moment, please?” Fold your napkin and place on your chair until you return.  
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