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Salvation: He Was Stopped From Committing Suicide

Updated on December 14, 2019
OGUNDARE OLUSEGUN profile image

Over three decades ago I become interested in the Bible, having drank from the heavenly cup once, I have not been tired to drink more

Introduction

Suicide is the act or an instance of taking one’s own life voluntarily and intentionally. The psychologists and the psychiatrist doctors have done a lot of research in knowing what could possibly warrant anyone committing suicide. One of the reasons or factors that they discover could lead to a person taking his own life voluntarily is depression.

I want you to know that this article is not designed to talk about the factors that could lead to a person committing suicide, what this is article is for, is to show you how a man in the bible was stopped from carrying out that dastardly act, committing suicide, by a spirit filled man of God many years ago.

The man who attempted to commit suicide was a person that people would not imagine would try such today because he has “good job”, married with children, his family was not disturbing him, neither has he be confronted with any difficulty in the past and his health was not failing. He has not at a time complained to anyone about his failing health about the pains in his body or some other difficult issues that could warrant this.

Thus, assuming he was not stopped by the person who stopped him, and he successfully carried out what he wants to do, not fewer people would be disturbed on hearing the news of his suicide when it was broken to them.

This is how the issue of life is, some people who show no sign of depression neither any related signs pointing to why a person would commit suicide when they committed suicide the entire community would be disturbed and their act would put the psychologists and other related health disciplines on their feet to look into what could have resulted into what the person did.

The story-line of this could be found in the book of Acts of the Apostles chapter 16 verses 14 to 34.

Updating Someone’s Knowledge About Apostle Paul

It is always good to know some things about the past before making advancements in life. Anyone who does not know some things about his or her past may have difficulties in some aspects of his life if not immediate but in the future because what he ought to guide against, he may not be able to guide against those things.

Historians say, knowledge of the past would help one’s present and the present would assist one in shaping his or her future.

Saul (Paul) on the road to Damascus met with by Jesus
Saul (Paul) on the road to Damascus met with by Jesus

Paul in The Past

The man Paul in the past was known as Saul which is the Jewish name of Paul.

Saul, “Σαῦλος” Romanized as Saulos (pronounced as sow'-los) has the same origin as “Σαούλ” Romanized form is Saoul with this phonetic spelling sah-ool' and the words imply Shaul.

He was knowledgeable man in the laws of the Jews, a certified advocate in Israel. Because of the knowledge he has and having stayed with the priests he went against the Gospel with all he had such that he was a voice during the death of Stephen.

“And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul.

“And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

“And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.” (Act 7:58-59 & 22:20)

He continued to oppose the growth and expansion of the Gospel but unknown to him that God was watching him and was ready to touch and save his life.

“And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.” (Act 8:1)

When the disciples saw what happened to Evangelist Stephen, they became afraid and many of them started leaving Jerusalem. Paul knowing that the number of believers in Jerusalem has reduced and because he has it in mind to put the gospel under check went to the authorities of the land, because he has access to them to get note to go and torment them at other towns.

“And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,

“And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.

“And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:

“And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” (Act 9:1-4)

After getting the note, he went after them in Damascus but on the way, he was met with by Jesus Christ. And there he gave his life to Jesus Christ.

“And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” (Act 9:5)

After becoming saved he was called into the service of God and he became instrumental in taken the gospel to different parts of the world then.

During prayer session, in which Paul was in attendance, the Spirit of God spoke to them that they should separate Paul and Barnabas for the work they have been assigned to do.

“Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

“As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.

“And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” (Act 13:1-3)

This was how he started working with Barnabas to bring the gospel to different parts of the then world.

However, at a certain juncture, Barnabas and Paul had sharp contention among themselves so that the gospel would not be impaired, they separate themselves, as Paul took with him Silas and Barnabas took with him John Mark.

“And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;

“And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.” (Act 15:39-40)

As Paul and Silas continued to take the message of Jesus to other places, they got to Thyatira they stayed in this town for sometimes and was teaching the people the way of the Lord telling them that Jesus is the messiah they are expecting.

As they continued to turn people’s mind to God through salvation in Jesus Christ, a damsel with the spirit of soothsaying was discovered to be following them and would be saying that they are people and servants of God. This continued for a while until Paul became weary of her actions and commanded the spirit in her to leave her. What Paul said in the name of Jesus Christ happened immediately.

When the masters of this damsel discovered that the source of their income has been blocked, they reported Paul and Silas to the magistrate, who commanded them beaten and imprisoned. They were put in the custody of the chief warder.

“And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.

“And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, if ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.

“And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:

“The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, these men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.

“And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.

“And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,

“And brought them to the magistrates, saying, these men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,

“And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.

“And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.

“And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:” (Act 16:14-23)

I will like us to take note of these concerning the above verses before I forge ahead.

Spirit of Divination
Spirit of Divination

(i) The Spirit Was Not Wrong

What the lady was saying by her spirit of divination was correct, it was not as if the spirit was lying, yet Holy Spirit inside Paul was not in agreement with her

(ii) Today, We Would Have Approved Her

Assuming such is being said by many pastors and ministers of God today we shall consider that to mean that it is God speaking through the damsel

and in fact, some people will be using that to brag around that they have been called and specially anointed by God for their generation

We need to learn from the ancient leaders to live a life worthy of the Gospel in this generation.

It is no wonder that many miracles are not happening like in the times past these days, because we have misplaced priorities, what we ought to put forward is what we have put backward.

Poll 1 Condone

Are you not condoning the spirit of darkness in your ministry and ministrations?

See results

The warder after receiving the order from the magistrate and leaders of the land that the man should be kept safe, put them in the inner prison with chains on their feet.

“Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.” (Act 16:24)

The leadership perhaps say this because they were students of history and they remember the storyline put across on the body of Christ that his disciples came during the night to steal him away, they do not wish for that to happen, they do not wish for a repeat of something like that, they want to prevent the disciples of Paul from coming during the night to take him away, as Jesus disciples stole him away and thus preventing them from passing due judgment on Paul and his companion.

“Saying, say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.” (Mat 28:13)

While they were in this position, Paul and his companion started singing praises and praying during the midnight, and suddenly miracle happens.

“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.” (Act 16:25)

It needs to be said here that so many preachers while talking about this verse place emphasis on the songs of praise they render and ignored the praying aspect. Both was done assuming it was one that was done the author would have said that.

Those people usually say this because they want to discredit some people who have given their lives to prayers, probably because many of them are not as rich as they are, thus, they would say it is through praises alone that miracles can happen but miracles cannot happen through prayer, whereas Jesus while alive does not emphasize that, what he says is that by prayer and fasting things would be done and also that whatsoever you ask in prayer you will have those things as long as you believe.

“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Mat 21:22)

But because the devil knows the efficacy of prayer, he has entered those preachers lives making them weak and vulnerable in prayer and have given them another spirit in the stead, making them to understand what God has not ordained, and often we shall hear them say it is only during praises that God would descend into the midst of the believers but he will not descend when they are praying what he will do is sending an angel into their midst. How grievous the devil has cheated them? The devil has through his style, subtility, which he has been known for, taken away substance from them and given them shadows.

Consider this for a second, who among us would his child call him or her and he would just send a messenger there, telling the child that he doesn’t have time for him or her? Now if those of us who are humans can possibly not do this, then we should be assured that our heavenly father would not do that, when we pray, he is in our midst as he said he would be there to answer our petitions.

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Mat 18:20)

How this error enters into the Christian faith no one can say, but it is obvious that the devil sees that the prayers of the saints that availed much are destroying his kingdom and he has infiltrated the hearts and minds of some professors of faith to populate and disseminate what he has not sanctioned so that he would continue to perform his enterprise on the people of the world because he knows that believers are those who have the keys to open and close, they are those who have the keys to liberate people from their sins, but he doesn’t want anyone to be freed, thus he allowed this to keep growing.

“… The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (Jas 5:16b)

The theory continues to grow and expand because majority of those who are propounding the theorem are rich people, the devil has allowed them to grow in wealth and through their wealth, because many people are suffering, many believers are in poverty they would be forced to accept such error being taught by those teachers.

Am I by this saying singing praises unto the Lord is not good? This is not what I implied by this, but what I am saying is, God values our prayers as we also value the words of our children to us. No aspect of the Gospel should be undermined to propagate and promote another.

Sword to kill himself
Sword to kill himself

Why He Attempted Suicide

While they were in this position they arose at the midnight as their custom was and started singing praises and praying and the unthinkable happened, there was earthquake and the fetters on all the prisoners were loosed. Let us see some of the points on why he attempted suicide and what followed.

“And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.(Act 16:26)

Escape
Escape

1. Thought They Had Escaped

After ensuring that they had been well secured in the prison yard, the warden slept off. While Apostle Paul and Silas were singing, he was obviously not aware of then because if he was aware, he may have been following their line of praises and worship as did other inmates which brought about their deliverance too because it was stated that their “bands were loosed.” On another note, he could have been stern on them and shouting them down.

Whatever it is, these did not happen, thus, the man did not know what was going on when they were singing, and he probably had been jolted back to life when the building was shaken to its foundations.

When he opened his eyes and discovered the prison doors opened not knowing what had transpired, he thought within himself that which kind of sleep has he slept such that when all those incidents were happening, he did not know.

“And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.” (Act 16:27)

2. He Remembered The Order And Theorem

He thought about the order the magistrate had given him that he should ensure that the latest prisoners should not escape, he remembered the theorem they have based their words on when keeping them in his custody to ensure that they do not escape, he remembered what he has done, how he has remanded them in the maximum prison so that they wouldn’t escape, but despite doing that, what happened happen, he thought he is not worthy of living again, because he knows that when the day break he would be invited by the magistrate and the populace who supported the judge.

 Magistrate
Magistrate

3. He Neither Knows How to Face The Magistrate Nor The Populace

Assuming it was the judge (magistrate) alone who asked him to be imprisoned, maybe he wouldn’t be thinking of suicide, because he would have people to run to, to defend him and help him appeal to the judge, but the members of the community that he would think of running to for assistance too supported the magistrate’s decision that the people be imprisoned and kept safe.

“And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them” (Act 16:22)

When someone is in a problem and one has people to run to, to defend him or her, the populace may prevail over the judge and the person would be freed, but in his case that majority of the inhabitants of the town was against the prisoners, it is better to think of committing suicide than staying alive for they would make his life miserable for him.

4. The Consequences of Flouting The Law

The consequences of flouting the law would be arresting the warden, imprisoning him until committee be set up to look into his case. This may take weeks before this would be done, and after the committee has given him fair hearing as well as looking into what happened, he knows that he would eventually be sentenced to death after spending several years in the prison custody.

suffering
suffering

5. He Does Not Want to Suffer Much Before Dying

The ultimate judgment would be killing him, this he knows, for they would think he has aided and abetted the “terrorists”, troublers of the town. But before he would be killed, the people of the town would have been merciless on him they would have beaten him seriously, injuring him before the judgment would be passed. Thus, he considers that it logical for him to die without passing through ridicule and suffering which would eventually result in death.

These ran through his mind, and while he arrived within him that it is better to die than to suffer,“he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself” (Act 16:27b)but the step he wants to take was truncated by the shout of apostle Paul.

“But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, do thyself no harm: for we are all here.” (Act 16:28)

When the warden who thought no one was in the prison custody again heard this, he stopped what he wants to do and walk to where they were trembling.

“Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,” (Act 16:29)

Shall we briefly see what Apostle Paul stopped him from committing suicide.

He Stopped him
He Stopped him

Why He Stopped Him

Assuming it is some people today who do not know much about the gospel, those who are not grounded in the word of God, this incident they would have made history out of it, they would allow the man to kill himself and when they got out of the prison this is what they would be saying while preaching to their followers, “remember when I was arrested the other day in town Zeh? The warden committed suicide after the foundations of the prison was shaken and I left with my companion without hurt, so I want to tell you that my God is powerful, my God can kill anyone who misbehaves as he has said touch not my anointed and do my prophets no harm.”

“Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.” (1 Sa 105:15)

I am God’s prophet for this generation and anyone who toys with me will die a sudden death.

Incidentally those people he would be talking to like that are members of his congregation because they have given him counsel on some things, they have counseled him on how to move the church forward, but because he has been overcame by ego, because he has not been freed from self, he would be glorying in what the God of heaven would be sad on.

Ironically, the members of the church of the man would also go about and be proclaiming that on the house tops about their leader, they would be saying their leader is powerful, he is specially anointed for this generation they would be saying they being in the dark of what Jesus said to his disciples when they asked him that they should call fire on the enemies, he said they do not know the spirit inside of them, that he has not been called to kill but to bring people to the Lord Jehovah whom they have rejected and forsaken for long.

Poll 2: Your celebration

Is this not what you are also celebrating in your assemblies today?

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“And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?

“But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.

“For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.” (Luk 9:54-56)

1. He Stopped Him Because He Erred

Apostle Paul stopped him because the man made a mistake, he thought they all have left the prison custody where as they were still there. He perhaps erred because of the darkness that pervade the prison yard at that time. Maybe the light has been put off when the foundations of the building were shaken.

“And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. (Act 16:27)

2. He Stopped Him Because He Was Naïve of God’s Power And Gift

The man did not know the power of God for assuming he knows what God can do he wouldn’t have subscribed to the theorem of the elders that Jesus disciples came and stole him away and thus the disciples of Apostle Paul too would likely repeat the same feat.

“Jesus answered and said unto her, if thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” (Joh 4:10)

3. He Stopped Him Because He Was Yet Unbeliever

Unbeliever is someone who has not accepted Jesus Christ into his or her life. He may be a religionist like apostle Paul once was, but when he, apostle Paul comes to the knowledge of Jesus everything changed, he knows that light is different from darkness, light is better, for no one can walk in the darkness without stumbling and or hitting his leg against the stones or objects but when we walk in the light we would have seen the obstacles ahead and avoid them.

“Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. (Joh 12:35)

But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.” (Joh 11:10)

“The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.” (Pro 4:19)

4. He Was Stopped To Present Jesus Christ To Him

The man has not known Jesus Christ, he hasn’t given his life to Jesus, thus apostle Paul had to seize the presenting opportunity to present the gospel to him,

he knows that he cannot present the gospel to the dead because it is the living that can serve the Lord not the dead, thus, he stopped him to present the message of the Cross to him to show him Jesus.

He knows that after showing him Jesus, the ball would then be in his court whether he wants to accept Jesus into his life, or he wants to continue in his former way of living.

“The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.” (Psa 115:17)

Poll 3: Opportunity

Are you making use of opportunity that avails you to present Jesus to people?

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We equally must be acting like Apostle Paul to be seizing the presenting opportunity to present Jesus to our listeners either in office, or at home, I mean wherever we are. May god through Jesus give us the grace to always decipher the opportunity when it presents itself and show people Jesus Christ.

Outcome of What He Did

When the jailor (warden) got to the disciples, he was trembling, he did not believe anyone could receive such opportunity to flee the prison yard and throw the opportunity away. He was surprised.

“Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,” (Act 16:29)

After he got to them the followings ensued

1. He Knows They Were Different

Since all the years of his service he hasn’t seen something like that before and something tells him that those people were different, they have a power that could even set free all other inmates not themselves alone, and after doing that they did not leave where they were, they were different set of people he reasoned within himself.

We must live a different life in a world that is corrupt to show whom our God is.

2. He Treated Them Specially

When he knew they were where they were, he went to them and having seen them he took them out of where they are in to the light. In another way he started treating them specially, they became very important personality before him.

“And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Act 16:30)

With Jesus we shall become important dignitaries in the world, but when we pursue that by ourselves we may not be able to attain it.

3. He Asked Them What He Needs To Do

He saw his limitation and desires for new life, thence, he asks them for what he needs to do to get himself out of his present position.

“And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Act 16:30)

This is what we need to do those of us reading this who are yet to be saved, who are yet to give our lives to Jesus Christ, we need to ask that “what ought I to do to be saved?” like this man asked.

4. He Presented Jesus Christ to Him

Apostle Paul having seen his desire for a change of life, his desire to become a new person, his desire to know more about God, did not hesitate to present Jesus Christ to the man, he said unto him that, “and they said, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Act 16:31)

In the most simple and straightforward format did the apostle present Jesus Christ unto the man and others nigh by listening to him.

5. Buttressed Their Point

Evangelist Finney, an American Evangelist while alive says, we need to tell the people how they could be saved and how they couldn’t be saved. I believe that after presenting Jesus Christ to the man in a simple format and others nigh by listening to them, he went ahead to tell them what salvation means and what salvation does not mean according to Charles Finney.

What makes me to say this? I say this because the bible says, and they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.” (Act 16:32)

This speaking unto him the word of the Lord means that they were expounding to him what salvation is and what salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ is not.

Thus as preachers and evangelists, we also have to take steps ahead after telling people that they need to accept Jesus Christ into their lives to be saved by also telling and explaining to them what salvation means and what salvation does not mean so that they won’t be swept off by the many torrents of lies all around.

Poll 4: Need To Buttress

Do you think there is need to tell people what salvation means and what salvation does not mean?

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Apostle Paul, Silas and Jailor
Apostle Paul, Silas and Jailor

6. He Accepted The Message

He and his household accepted the good message and become saved at that moment, because they understood what the message meant and saw that they do not have to walk in darkness again because anyone walking in darkness knows not where he is going. They want to be sure of where they were heading for, thus, they believed Jesus Christ at that hour.

You also do not know where you are headed for if you have not given your life to Jesus Christ, to know where you are going, you must give your life to Jesus Christ today.

Baptism by immersion
Baptism by immersion

7. He Was Baptized

He was baptized with his entire household and they became new in the spirit, and the heavens rejoiced over their lives for they have come out of darkness into the light.

“Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” (Luk 15:10)

Let heaven and the angels of heaven rejoice over you today, by given your life to Jesus Christ. Do not delay neither postpone your salvation, because tomorrow will be late.

“(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)” (2 Cor 6:2)

Served food
Served food

8. He Took Them to His Apartment And Served Them Food

After they had ministered unto the man and his household in the things of the spirit, the man also ministered unto them in the things of the flesh. They saw themselves as one in the Lord.

When we see someone, who has given himself to Jesus Christ, we should know that we are one, there shouldn’t be any discrimination again, there shouldn’t be racism neither cultural separation, we have been bind together by the strongest cord the world over which is the cord of Jesus blood.

Poll 5: Treatment

How are you treating other believers that do not belong to your race?

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Poll 6 If you don’t treat them well

Why are you not treating them well?

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The apostles saw the family as the family of Christ and they embraced them the same hour, eating with them as they would with other apostles in Jerusalem.

The man was stopped from committing suicide by the apostle so that he could be brought back to God his maker, what wants to lead him to suicide was an error in judgement, an assumption he made which was not so.

I also wish to appeal to you that you shouldn’t commit spiritual suicide, because if you do not give your life to Jesus Christ, it is a spiritual suicide which you have voluntarily committed. Now, is the accepted time of repentance, now is the day of salvation there won’t be tomorrow.

Simple Questions For Personal Assessment

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    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
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    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
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