031: Communication in Conflict Resolution


What You'll Discover in this Episode:

There is no easy way to deal with conflict. Most people in the world try to avoid conflict as much as possible while there are others that love nothing more than creating conflict. Within Christian circles, it is difficult to sometimes deal with our conflicts. Do we say what is really on our mind? Do we just say nothing and hope it goes away? Do we just speak the truth harshly because it needs to be said? If someone tells us to let it go, do we let it go? 


Communication is necessary and biblical. Do not allow your emotions to control your actions. Look to the Word and find out how the Word tells you to deal with the conflict you find yourself in. If you refuse to speak you might be sinning. If you know the biblical way you are supposed to handle the situation but choose to remain silent, you can find yourself grieving the Holy Spirit. There needs to be discernment and prayer, in order to use words that will help the situation and not cause further destruction. 


The ultimate response that we should communicate is one of love. Love is not rude and it does not ignore, but it gives an appropriate answer. Love communicates the truth even when it may "hurt" the individual. Love delivers what sometimes needs to be said and not necessarily what they want to hear. It is not a sin to hurt someone's feelings if the objective is to help them grow in their spiritual walk. Communicating a difficult truth can cause the individual to see the wrongdoing and give them the opportunity to repent. 


Have you ever found yourself in a position where an authority figure is acting ungodly, but you are afraid to correct them because they are the authority figure? Just because they are an authority figure it does not make them immune from applying biblical knowledge in their own life. In fact, the authority figure should be welcoming of any corrective action that might need to take place in their life because of their position of authority. If the subordinate shakes it off and conceals the proper correction they are sinning by failing to speak the truth. 


It is not a good idea to tell someone what they want to hear, no matter how tempting it may be to just tell them what they want to hear. Communicating the truth in all situations is what Scripture calls us to do. Even if you are told that your opinion is not needed or you are told to be quite. God does not give anyone absolute authority. Christians must speak biblical truth even when they are told to remain silent. There may be times when it is a biblical response to convey that you are angry, as long as that anger is righteous and is given through biblical means of communication. 


In conclusion, there is no easy way to communicate. One must look at the Scriptures to guide and instruct their communication. Don't allow yourself to use world wisdom, worldly wisdom is foolish and does not communicate the truth that God has equipped all believers with. In this episode Pastor Jeff gives you the necessary tools from Scripture in order to effectively communicate in conflict resolution. 


Scroll down and leave your comment below!



Highlights from Pastor Jeff

  • If you say nothing, you could be sinning. There are times when we must speak up using the Bible as our guide.  
  • Scripture is not rude, but that doesn't mean that you remain silent and say nothing. Search the Word and find the appropriate biblical answer.  
  • When speaking in love, we must remember that we need to express the truth even it stings a little. You are showing love by sharing the truth.   
  • Those who are in a position of authority may need to be corrected by those who are not in authority. Those who are not in a position of authority have a responsibility to communicate with those that are. Those who are in authority need to request correction from their subordinates. 
  • Do not just give an answer that the other person wants to hear. There may be times when you need to give a completely different answer than they are looking for.  
  • If you find yourself in a position where your opinion is not wanted, you may need to speak up to share the truth of God's Word. The proper response that is given needs to be the truth from God's Word.
  • It is not always wrong to share your anger with someone. Your anger must be righteous and not sinful and must be communicated biblically. 

Resources:

  • Hebrews 3:13 but  exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
  • Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 
  • James 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 
  • Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. 
  • 2 Corinthians 2:4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you, with many tears, not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have so abundantly for you. 
  • 2 Corinthians 6:11-13 O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections. Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open.
  • Proverbs 26:4-5 Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
                                 Lest you also be like him.
                                       Answer a fool according to his folly,
                                 Lest he be wise in his own eyes.
  • Acts 4:18-20 So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” 
  • Ecclesiastes 3:8 A time to love,
                                And a time to hate;
                                A time of war,
                                And a time of peace. 

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  • Tom Zimbelman says:

    There is an old saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.” This podcast might amend that saying to, “If you have something you don’t want to say but should, say it.”
    I’m reminded of John the Baptist when he confronted King Herod about having his brother’s wife. That was probably a pretty intimidating conversation, but John spoke spoke his conscience – what he believed God would have him to speak. Interestingly, Herod kept coming to John as he found his words intriguing. I think he was impressed with John’s convictions and possibly his certainty in Whom he believed – he was salt and light.

    Two challenges I thought of in regards to this podcast: be kind and gracious in my speech; and speak the truth even if someone doesn’t like it. I had a conversation with a friend of mine recently who is Jewish and we spoke of the importance of being committed to God. He then remarked to the effect of, “except when someone doesn’t believe in God” that’s when they should just do good things. I could have followed up with him to further explain not only the reality of God’s existence, but that Jesus Christ is His only begotten Son and is the true Messiah. That would’ve taken our conversation down potentially a long road, he knows I am a Christian and believe in Jesus, but instead I changed the topic. It was a moment when I should have at least followed up with one more statement of the certainty of God’s creation and the many examples of evidence that He exists and loves us. I didn’t. God is gracious though, I speak to this man frequently so I hope to have another opportunity to follow through more completely.

    • Esther Ambie-Barango says:

      Thanks for your post Tom, particularly in reminding me to ‘be kind and gracious in my speech; and speak the truth even if someone doesn’t like it.’.
      This Podcast has blessed me, reiterating the need to cultivate the habit of speaking with Grace.
      Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

    • Sherra says:

      Thank you for sharing about your experience with your friend. It is often only in retrospect that I think, “Lord, I should have said more!”. However God has been gracious to remind me that sometimes it is HE that shuts my mouth. I believe we must be sensitive to the leading of the Spirit, not speaking when He would have us praying, and speaking with boldness when He prompts. I love how God is so gracious, even when we miss “the moment”, although He allows us to be used to speak his truth to others, but by no means does he need us, He can use any manner He wants to convey truth into people’s lives.

  • Esther Ambie-Barango says:

    This episode of Podcast discussed how we can attempt to get the discussion going again, particularly how love communicates (1 Corinthians 13) even when somebody shuts down the communication, going silent; while we are resolving conflict biblically. It blessed me so much to know that I can communicate love to the person in conflict.
    We considered a few biblical principles with Scriptures to affirm/ validate/ verify/ confirm why we must re-think about communicating biblically with God’s love and grace, without sacrificing truth in the need for admonishments.
    Pastor Jeff taught us from the Scriptures that sometimes, not speaking; saying nothing could be a sin. Sometimes, we should remain silent but there are times when we need to speak up using the Bible as our guide.
    Ecclesiastes 3:7 and Ezekiel 33:8, urges us to speak, especially when others are in danger (Esther 4:13-14, Esther 7:4) and we must speak up, sometimes to rebuke, admonish, to stand in the gap; we are to bring warning winsomely, in love; with generosity and kind words, bringing the issue to the persons attention (Luke 17:3).
    We are to search out the fitting Word and the appropriate biblical answer for every situation, speaking in love, expressing the truth even it stings a little, but we must show love when sharing the truth.

    • Tom Zimbelman says:

      Esther-
      I love that word “Winsomely” – we as Christians should have a kindness mixed with humility and strength as we deal with conflict in and with others. “Winsome” reminds me that the right words with the right attitude in the Holy Spirit might “win some” to the faith or to restoration.

  • Josh says:

    The proper response in all and every situation is always (and only) the truth that comes from the Word. We must communicate the truth in all situations. We as Christians must speak biblical truth. We must look to Scripture to guide and instruct our communication. We must not use the foolish ways of the world. We must continue to only communicate the truth of God.
    this is important so that; we continue to have the right response in all things, we aren’t deceived by sin and harden our hearts, we continue to be healed and produce powerful and mighty results that only the Lord can do through us

    • Esther Ambie-Barango says:

      Thanks for your post Josh. I agree with you that ‘the proper response in all and every situation is always and only the truth that comes from the Word of God’ and this is in line with Scriptures (2 Corinthians 13:8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.). as Christians, we must regularly exhort one another in truth and with love (Ephesians 4:15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—).

    • Tom Zimbelman says:

      Hi Josh,

      You are right on that everything must be done by guidance in the truth of God’s word. There are really no exceptions. It’s important to speak truth, but also to do it with the kindness and the grace of God. I was trying to explain to my daughter yesterday about what Colossians speaks of in chapter 3 of admonishing one another with spiritual songs. Basically, creating one another with the goal of building each other up in love. Good thoughts.

    • Alyssa says:

      That is so true! I think that is the truth that we always hold onto. When speaking about communication within the church, our words, deeds, actions, and everything need to be based off of our communication with God first. After going to God for wisdom and direction, then can we proceed with communicating with others in a biblical and godly manner.

  • Sherra says:

    This podcast deals with something that is so difficult to put into action. It is so much simpler to live life avoiding conflict than it is to knowingly walk into conversations where you know that you risk creating conflict by saying something. The Word is clear however, there are times that by choosing to stay silent we are in sin. Sometimes it is a clear decision, more often however I find that things are more nuanced and require prayer and humility. Before we go to confront another person we must first examine ourselves. An important distinction for me in this is to be sure that what I speak is intended to encourage restoration of a correct relationship with God and not to somehow correct out of any pride or selfish motivations.

    • Autumn Duncan says:

      I completely agree with you that this can be difficult to put into action sometimes. I used to think that avoiding the conflict was easier but I had to learn the hard way with some health problems, that I needed to work through the conflict rather than avoid it. I like your statement where you mention that we need to examine ourself. This can stop us from saying things we may regret. It also has stopped me from not listening to what they are saying. Growth in this area can be painful sometimes!

    • Neil says:

      Hi Sherra, thanks for your feedback! I agree with you… life would be great without conflict in relationships, and that the temptation is always there to avoid or distance ourselves from conversations in which there is a risk of conflict.

      But, I really appreciate your point, “An important distinction for me in this is to be sure that what I speak is intended to encourage restoration of a correct relationship with God and not to somehow correct out of any pride or selfish motivations.” This completely resonates with what the Apostle Paul says in that the purpose of our communication (ministry) should be reconciliation.

      “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”
      ‭‭II Corinthians‬ ‭5:18-20‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

    • Esther Ambie-Barango says:

      True Sherra, great Podcast but difficult to put into action and that’s where the power Christ and the enabling of the Holy Spirit comes into play.
      Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
      Zechariah 4:6 So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts.
      We receive grace to comply with Scriptures, even in exhorting one another in Jesus Name, Amen.
      Hebrews 3:13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

      • Sherra says:

        These are such powerful verses to use as guides and encouragement as we seek to speak as the Lord has prompted us to. I love how God in His divine knowledge knew that in our humanity we would struggle to do as we ought to do. I love the reminder in these passages, we are to do things through Christ and by His Spirit, not on our own strength or by our own ideas.

  • Alyssa says:

    “Those who are in a position of authority may need to be corrected by those who are not in authority. Those who are not in a position of authority have a responsibility to communicate with those that are. Those who are in authority need to request correction from their subordinates.”

    This reality of this statement came real to me a few months back when I got offended by something my pastor had done to me. Originally, when he offended me I felt it necessary to bottle up what I was feeling and not tell him what he did hurt me. But I later learned that that was only causing me more pain and I wasn’t helping either of us.

    I had lead a girls discipleship group, and after class was finished, I began planning the next discipleship. We were going on our third year and I don’t quite know when, but he decided we were not going to do it and didn’t tell me. He instead talked to someone else who then told me as I started planning the next discipleship. I was really hurt because I had poured my heart into pouring into these young ladies, and it made me feel like I did something wrong which is why he decided not to include me in his new plans. This thought along with others stormed through my head and discouraged me from wanting to step up to help with other things, or step out to do new things. I thought I was being put on time-out because of something wrong I had done, and I didn’t want to step on his toes. I felt like I was paralyzed or restrained from doing the things that the Lord had called and gifted me to do.

    Eventually I was encouraged by someone else to talk to him. I realized that I was resistant to any ministry or leadership role out of fear of overstepping my boundaries. I had allowed this to cause bitterness into my heart. Although I knew this before and prayed and asked God to forgive me, the pain was still there, and it was effecting my walk. Eventually I talked to him about what was happening and he apologized, stating that was not his intent to hurt me, and instead told me the vision behind what he was doing.

    Having him hear me out, say he was sorry and explain the reason why he decided to make the change brought closer to the thoughts battling in my mind. It then brought back the line of communication that had been cut. I am not saying he was the only one to blame in this incident, I do take responsibility for just assuming I would do it again without asking, and allowing that bitterness to take root. But I am thankful that the Lord grows us as we learn to communicate with those around us. Especially those in leadership because they are human just like anyone else.

    • jeffchristianson says:

      Alyssa! This is an amazing testimony! Many thanks for baring your heart (and taking a bold step of faith to share it). We have ALL found ourselves in this scenario from time to time, right? I though I was the only one 🙂 But, really, we face this communication conflict at all levels of ministry and in every season of maturity.

    • Autumn Duncan says:

      Thank you for sharing your own experience on this topic. I loved your statement where you state that keeping your feelings bottled up doesn’t help anyone. I did that for so many years and had to learn how to communicate my feelings instead of bottling them up as it was starting to affect my health. I have learned what you mention in your last paragraph about the apology, it can heal the relationship.

    • Neil says:

      Hi Alyssa, thanks for your feedback and insights. I’m really encouraged by your personal example of how Jeff’s point that, “Those who are in a position of authority may need to be corrected by those who are not in authority. Those who are not in a position of authority have a responsibility to communicate with those that are. Those who are in authority need to request correction from their subordinates” has been exemplified in your life.

      Communication is vital. So many of the challenges and misunderstandings that happen in our relationships often are due to some sort of communication dynamic — be that positive or negative.

      Thank you for sharing your example, and I really appreciate your statement: “I am not saying he was the only one to blame in this incident, I do take responsibility for just assuming I would do it again without asking, and allowing that bitterness to take root. But I am thankful that the Lord grows us as we learn to communicate with those around us. Especially those in leadership because they are human just like anyone else.”

      These points are so true!

    • Gregory Nelson says:

      Thank you for sharing your story Alyssa. I am glad that you were able to listen to the Lord in this matter and not end up getting more hurt in the situation. I thank God that His mercy’s are new every day, and the He never gives up on showing us how to live our lives for Him!

  • April K Robbins says:

    Great podcast! Coming from generations of secret keeping, and children should be seen and not heard, took it’s toll most of my life. I loved point 6 – speaking even when asked to keep quiet, and that you can refuse to answer, point 5. I had often thought of how the apostles were persecuted for their faith, and being bold. When God is prompting us to speak out, He is in control of the situation, and we could miss out on his best. I love the boldness of Peter who for better or worse, always spoke up! Thank goodness for the Holy Spirit that guides our thoughts and words!

    • Josh says:

      I like and agree with your statement “I love the boldness of Peter who for better or worse, always spoke up! Thank goodness for the Holy Spirit that guides our thoughts and words!” especially that second part.

    • Gregory Nelson says:

      Hey April, great post! I would have to agree, I love how bold Peter was, even though it got him into some trouble at times. God, by His amazing grace, allowed what Peter stated to be the foundational cornerstone on which the church would stand! (Matthew 16:15-18 NKJV)
      15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
      16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
      17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

  • Gregory Nelson says:

    What I found really interesting, was how you said that from time to time, when we do not talk we are then sinning by not talking. Another thing that I really got to me, was how, sometimes we need to say something that is true, even though at first it is going to hurt that other person’s feelings. Hearing the truth hurts at times, but it is what we needed to hear! Today at work, there were a couple of guys that I work with trying to get me to react in the wrong way when they told me some news about another driver. They were asking me what I thought about his mistake, and I told them, ” Look, everyone struggles in different areas in life, and we shouldn’t say that one person’s struggles are worse than ours.” I said struggles because I did not know if my co-workers would even know what sin meant. As I was listening to the podcast, I felt very convicted, that I didn’t say more. I prayed and asked the Lord for another opportunity, well then it happened. I was driving home (I drive a tractor trailer for a living.) and one of the guys who I was talking to in the morning called me, and then I was able to tell him about God’s grace and invite him to church! God is amazingly gracious!

    • Josh says:

      Greg, SO glad to hear that you were able to obey and step out in faith. And please let us know if he ever makes it to church and if he accepts salvation so we can be encouraged. I will be praying for this as well.

  • Autumn Duncan says:

    This was a great message on the importance of communication and how to do it the way that isn’t sinful. As Pastor Jeff mentioned in his point #3, that sometimes communicating something may hurt the other person as it’s what they need but not what they want. This resonated with me as in society, people are unable to take something critical and reflect upon it as it helps them grow. This is hindering spiritual maturity and in other aspects in our life. I also thought about how sometimes sharing something, can hurt them but it’s more important to be honest. It is the way it’s being said sometimes than the context of the words. Sometimes the words will sting for a while but after you realize there is truth within what they said and it can offer the opportunity to make changes and grow in a certain area.

    • Esther Ambie-Barango says:

      True Autumn, phenomenal teaching on communication, indeed, healthy communication and not with words that sting, reminding me of the caution in the Scriptures below:
      Proverbs 12:17-20 He who speaks truth declares righteousness, But a false witness, deceit. There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, But the tongue of the wise promotes health. The truthful lip shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment. Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but counselors of peace have joy.
      Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones..
      As biblical counselors, we speak the truth in love and be counselors of peace to have joy.

    • Hannah Somerville says:

      Wow, this is beautifully said Autumn! I love this sentence you mentioned : “This resonated with me as in society, people are unable to take something critical and reflect upon it as it helps them grow. This is hindering spiritual maturity and in other aspects in our life.”

      I agree, I think we can become so comfortable as a christian society, coddling and not offending one another, when this might keep us from growing and even walking in freedom. I know many times when people have spoken truth to me, it takes a while to soak in the fact that they are so right and I have an opportunity to walk rightly with God and others. Thank you for sharing Autumn.

  • Neil says:

    “Open wide your hearts … you can’t open up and clam up at the same time.”

    Real relationships require real communication. Although most of us seek to AVOID conflict, conflict isn’t our enemy, it’s a natural byproduct of real relationships. The challenge is to learning to navigate good communication through difficult circumstances and conflict resolution.

    In this podcast, Jeff shares the important reality that love communicates. Jeff shares seven key principles with Scriptural support that highlight how we can communicate in difficult situations and in conflict resolution.

    Jeff says that to not speak can be a sin. As it says in Ecclesiastes 3.7, there are times in which we need to be silent, and times in which we need to speak up.
    This is challenged nearly every day in my life as a Pastor in working alongside the church staff and people of the congregation I serve. To speak the truth in love is a constant tension to balance. I think that’s why Jeff highlights 1 Corinthians 13.5 and Colossians 4.6 and how our communication does not have be rude, but loving and truthful.

    Jeff highlights five other key truths in his podcast that (1) love takes initiative to express itself event it’s not what the other person wants to hear, (2) concealment is a form of lying, (3) that its okay to give an different answer than what’s expected, (4) that its okay to speak even when asked to be quiet, and (5) its not wrong to communicative when angry, if your anger is truly righteous.

    • Alyssa says:

      This is a great summery of what Jeff talked about in this podcast. I think it’s good that you summarized the point that there are times to speak up, and times to be silent. The two points may seem easy, however it is hard knowing which times to do which one. There is a balance of the two but we need discernment from God when to use each one.

      • Steve G says:

        Jeff gave us a good example, he shared personally how he has had to repent because he had his feelings hurt. He had to make sure it was not a self centered, selfish kind of things, he realized it was something he needed to hear? If it did not offend God why is it offending me? If it did not offend God we need to change our thinking? Col 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. Pro 2:6 For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding; Pro 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; Pro 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

    • Hannah Somerville says:

      I admire that you use the term ” real relationship”. I agree confrontation and submitting to one another, having open and forgiving hearts is a huge part of real relationship that lasts and overcomes challenges.

      It is indeed very difficult to know that we are to speak truth and not clam up, but to do it lovingly and gently. We certainly may not always be a crowd favorite. It is more loving to keep someone from danger and in a beautiful relationship with God and others.

  • Hannah Somerville says:

    Love this exhortation to open our hearts to one another. Love really does communicate! Great podcast!

    It was interesting to note that most people like to avoid conflict. We should not refuse to communicate. Not speaking can be a sin in certain situations.

    We should not just speak whatever we want , but we also should not clam up when we are supposed to speak, such as with a pastor or before a judge. We are called to have an open heart toward one another, or to share valuable information.

    We should speak the truth in love. As Jeff mentioned we are to do it winsomely, lovingly and gentle. We are to speak when others are in danger. It is not a sin necessarily if we hurt someone’s feelings , as long as it is the truth that hurts, not the way we confront.

    • Steve G says:

      We have all experienced it and have played a part in clamming up, shutting down and not communicating. Refusing to communicate can quench and hinder the situation. If you know the biblical way you are supposed to handle the situation but choose to remain silent, you can find yourself grieving the Holy Spirit. We need love, discernment, knowledge, grace, wisdom (James 1:5) and prayer. We need words that will help the situation and not cause further destruction or sin. Communication is necessary and it must be biblical and love really does communicate.

  • Steve Greenberg says:

    I learned love takes the initiative even though it may heard the person this can be loving thing to do? The main point is love communicates. Love takes the initiative to express itself. Love gives the person what he needs not what he wants. It is not necessary a sin to hurt someone’s feelings. The reality is as American’s we live in a feeling oriented society. This is important reminded it is okay if a person has hurt feeling or get there feelings hurt! It is not a good idea to tell someone what they want to hear, no matter how tempting it may be to make them happy or have them believe you are for them. The ultimate response that we should communicate is one of love. Love is not rude and it does not ignore, but it gives an appropriate biblical answer.

  • pablo Valdez Acosta says:

    Wow, it is an amazing reminder that in order to find resolution we must speak and not be passive, my take on this podcast is a self check on heart and motives when it comes to dealing with issues and talking to the person that’s involved in the situation it is the difference between proving right / rightness or being righteous.
    When Jesus had to deal with confrontations or questions that dealt with doubts and judgement of His ministry He always had a response that made them think and refer to scripture, every answer was full of love, correction and admonition. There is time for everything just like Ecclesiastes 3 and sometimes we must speak and answer in order to progress in our relationship in a biblical way.

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