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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
Revised January 27, 2013
The Value of Human Life
This past Tuesday marked the 40th anniversary of the infamous decision by the U.S. Supreme court on Roe vs Wade. In a travesty of jurisprudence, unborn children were stripped of their right to life. A mother’s womb should be the safest place possible for a baby, but instead it became the location of horrible deaths for over 55 million children in the United States. The decision and its ramifications have changed the moral climate of our society.
It has become routine for doctors to recommend abortion of a child that might be sickly, deformed or just unwanted. Infanticide became a reality. Several states and then the federal government had to pass “born alive” laws to protect babies born after a failed abortion or with severe birth defects because the practice of neglecting them until they died had arisen. Our most pro-abortion president ever, Mr. Obama, opposed those laws while serving as a State Senator in Illinois. Advocates of euthanasia have gained enough ground that at least two states, Oregon and Washington, have enacted laws that permit physician assisted suicide. Good bye to the Hippocratic oath.
In view of what has already happened in this nation, the question arises, “How far behind is genocide of those not in political favor?” Is this what follows disarming the citizens? That may seem outlandish to suggest that something so horrible could happen in the United States, but other nations have gone down this path before us using the same steps. In addition, the policies of the United States Government in the past did result in genocide of some native tribes in order to take over the lands they lived on. During the “Civil War” some in the North advocated and practiced total war on the Southern states. The property of civilians was pillaged or destroyed with no concern that it would cause starvation. Some had few qualms about killing Southern civilians. How much worse is possible in a society in which even the President publically attacks Christian values?
Now all these atrocities sound horrible because they are intensely appalling evils. However, that is only if your understanding of life is still guided by Christianity. But what about those whose world-view is largely shaped by other religions and philosophies? In our post-modern society there are many who claim to be Christians, but their belief system holds to many ideas that are contrary to the Scriptures. There are several “Christian” denominations that maintain advocacy groups that are pro-abortion and advocate some aspects of euthanasia.
The Value of Human Life
All sorts of logical reasons have been proposed to try and give value to human life to fight against abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia. However, the arguments fail or are ignored because they do not give intrinsic and transcendent value to human life. Here are some examples.
1) Human life is valuable because it is human. A good argument for those who agree humans have some superior innate value, but worthless against those who believe man is just a higher form of animal life with no greater value than any other form of animal life – a monkey, a dog, an eagle, a rat. Evolutionary philosophy now dominates government, public education and most of the media and so this idea is becoming much more common.
2) Human life is valuable because mankind possesses certain qualities that are superior to all other animals. A good argument for those who have those qualities, but what about those people in which those qualities are impaired or destroyed. This reasoning quickly descends into arguments about the quality of life. In 2005 Terri Schindler-Schiavo died from dehydration enforced by a Florida court order withholding food and water from her at the insistence of her husband, Michael. He did not think her quality of life was high enough to justify continuing her medical care. His concern was not for his wife, but for the money being spent to care for her that he wanted to spend on himself. (Two important footnotes to this case. First, then U.S. Senator Barak Obama voted in favor of a law that would allow intervention to give Terri back her feeding tube. However, when running for President in 2008, Mr. Obama said in a debate that his vote was a mistake and that he should have taken action against the bill. He has shifted to a stronger pro-death position on euthanasia. Second, the judge who issued multiple decisions against Terri’s life claimed to be a Christian and was a member of a local Baptist church. That church eventually revoked his membership over the issue).
3) Human life is valuable because of its economic consequences. Some have correctly pointed out that there is a negative economic impact when there are 55+ million fewer customers. However, if human life is valued by simple economic terms, then strong arguments can be made that society is financially better off killing its nonproductive members. It is cheaper for the government to pay for an abortion than to pay all the welfare costs in raising a child to adulthood. It is less expensive to kill a handicapped child than to pay for the medical and rehabilitation costs. Medical costs decline where there is active euthanasia practiced on those who are old or sick. Besides, there is quicker access to the inheritance for the survivors and the government. Those are harsh ideas, but they are the policies that will soon be reality under Obamacare which does advocate abortion and will ration health care.
If humans do not have intrinsic value in being an animal, having qualities superior to other animals or economic factors, then why shouldn’t abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, and yes, even genocide be practiced? What intrinsic value does human life have that it transcends these things so that murder is wrong? The answer is not found in man himself, but in the God who created him. Turn to Genesis 1:26.
The Creation of Man
God created the beasts of the earth, the creeping things and man on the sixth day. However, we find man is made differently than the animals. In verse 26, God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 2:7 adds, “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Later that day God took a rib from Adam and fashioned Eve from it.
Like the animals, man was made from the dust of the earth (except for Eve who was fashioned from Adam’s rib — she is refined dirt). For that reason man shares many common characteristics with animals in our physical body makeup. However, regardless of the physical similarities, man is very different from animals. Unlike the animals, man had the breath of life breathed into him by God Himself and became a living soul which means he has been given an eternal nature. Howe
ver, having an eternal soul does not necessarily give man greater intrinsic value to his life on this earth. God’s charge to him to have dominion over all the animals gives man a more important position, but it also does not necessarily give his life greater innate value. However, there is something that does.
Made in the Image of God
Man has inalienable value because he is made in the image of God. Man is a reflection of his Creator. This idea is brought out even stronger in Genesis 9. When Noah departs from the Ark, God includes in his diet not only the green plants but also animals (vs. 3) with the restriction that he may not eat its blood. In verse 5 God commands what is to happen to an animal or man that murders a man. “And surely I will require your life blood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man.”
Take note and underline that last phrase. The issue of capital punishment for those who murder is not about determent, retribution or human justice, even though those are important issues. It is about the fact that human life is created as a reflection of God so that murder is actually a rebellious act against God. The main reason for capital punishment is God’s holiness.
Right to life advocates are accused of being inconsistent on this point by people who argue that if a person truly valued human life then they would be against capital punishment. However, the same reason that makes man’s life valuable to save from abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and genocide is the same reason that demands capital punishment for murder. Man is made in the image of God. The inconsistency is with the abortion and euthanasia advocates who stand against capital punishment. They value the life of a murderer in defiance of God’s command, but they do not value the life of an unborn baby or those whose quality of life is below their standard.
Advocates of abortion, infanticide and euthanasia do not value human life because they reject what God says about human life. They are in rebellion against God. Those who claim to be Christians and yet advocate these evils do so in contradiction to what God clearly states about Himself and His will in the Bible. Whether they admit it or not, they blaspheme and offend God by their disobedience to His commands. They want to play God in deciding who lives and who dies based on their own reasoning instead of God’s clear commands.
Their advocation of destroying a creature made in God’s image is blasphemy against Him and a very serious sin that has brought God’s judgment upon individuals and societies in the past. Part of the reason for the destruction of the Canaanites was their practice of infanticide as part of their worship of Molech (Lev. 20:2; Deut. 12:31; 18:10-13). Refraining from executing those who are convicted of premeditated murder is injustice. This was actually one of the reasons for the oppression and eventual deportation that came upon Israel & Judah (Deuteronomy 28:15f; cf Isaiah 5; Ezek. 22, etc.). From my viewpoint, it is apparent that God has already removed His hand of blessing upon this nation and His judgments are starting to fall upon us. While the specific blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience from God listed in Deuteronomy 27 & 28 are specific to the nation of Israel, the general principle applies to all nations. Proverbs 14:34 states, “Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people” (NKJV).
Man wants to think of himself as autonomous, but he is not. Everyone is absolutely dependent on God for it is in Him that we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). It is God’s hand that holds all things together (Colossians 1:17). Man would like to be a free moral agent that determines right and wrong for himself, but he is not. Every human is a created being that will be held accountable by our Creator for how he or she lived (Revelation 20:12). Man would like to decide what is important or what is not by his own wisdom, but man cannot for two reasons. First, man’s does not have enough wisdom to accomplish that task for even the wisest man is a foolish imbecile before God (1 Corinthians 1:18-31). Second, the value of something is determined by its owner, not someone else. Man belongs to the God who Created him, not himself, and God places value on man because He made man in His own image. That is why all humans, regardless of their intelligence, physical abilities or social standing have intrinsic value. This includes those still in the womb.
Loved by God
There is another reason that man has intrinsic value, and it is also related to God. All humans break God’s commandments and their personal sin places them under God’ just condemnation. Man has no means within himself by which he can become acceptable to his Creator. All of man’s attempts at righteous deeds are filthy rags before our Holy God. (Isaiah 64:6). The Lord would be perfectly just and righteous to toss every man, woman, boy and girl into everlasting hell right now. Yet, despite man’s willful disobedience, God loves mankind and provided a way of salvation from sin and its consequences through the person and work of Jesus Christ, who is God in human flesh. Jesus paid the price necessary to redeem man from sin by suffering and dying on the cross in our place. He did this to redeem you so that you could be forgiven and have eternal life. The value of man is the value of the price God paid to redeem him from his sin. Tell me, what is the value of Jesus’ life?
It is important to emphasize this truth. God values you so much that Jesus, the second person of the triune Godhead, set aside the glories of heaven that belong to Him and became a man and humbled Himself to the point of death on the cross (Philippians 2:5-8). God did not do this because of anything in you, but because of His own character of love (Romans 5:8). The value of human life is what God declares it to be, which in this case is the value of the life of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and that is infinite.
Think about what these truths mean in your own life. Your value is not based in how well you perform in school; what you scored on an intelligence test; what you can do physically; how well you fit into societies concept of beauty; how well you behave; on your family background, ethnic heritage, or social class; your job, income or position; or in what other people think of you, good, bad or indifferent. It is not even based in what you think of yourself. Your value is based in God creating you in His image and in His declared love for you proven in Jesus Christ. That gives you a foundation of comfort, hope and security by which you can face any of the nonsense that society throws at you in trying to bring you down to its level and conform you into its image (Romans 12:2). I like what Elias Carrero used to say in response to life’s difficulties or when treated wrongly, “I know that Jesus loves me, so its okay.”
These truths also mean that abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and failure to carry out capital punishment on murderers are all fundamentally wrong because they fail to recognize and respect the proper value God has given to every human. But there are also more specific commands and Biblical principles that prove each of these are evil. I have already commented about capital punishment, so lets quickly look at abortion, infanticide and euthanasia.
Many people are simply confused when it comes to abortion because they do not know what God has said and are often swayed by political and philosophical arguments designed to find sympathy in man’s sinful nature. Our quest must be to know what God says about it, for until we know what He says we are only ignorant people adding our opinions to the discussion. Once we know what God has said, then we can respond appropriately and speak authoritatively to the issue. Bu
t what has God said about abortion?
Let’s begin with examining the issue of the origin of human life. First, all life has its origin in God. He created Adam from the dust of the ground, and he fashioned Eve from one of Adam’s ribs (Genesis 1:27; 2:22). Jesus makes the same claim in Matthew 19:5 as does Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:8,9. To deny that God created man and woman is to deny the writings of Moses, the Apostle Paul, and the words of Jesus Christ.
More relevant to the issue of abortion than the general fact that God created human life is that God controls the creation of each individual human life. The life that is in the womb is not just the product of an act of two humans, but it also involves the action of God. Human life comes from the hand of God both generally and specifically. Let me give you just a few quick examples.
1) Sarah – the wife of Abraham. In Genesis 16:1-2 Sarai tells Abram, “Now behold the Lord has prevented me from bearing children.” She understands that it is the Lord that opens or closes the womb. In Genesis 17:16 the Lord says, “I will bless her and indeed I will give you a son by her.” It is the Lord that will give Abraham the son through Sarah. That is emphasized again in verse 19. “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son.” It would be the Lord that would accomplish this. In Genesis 21:2 the promise is fulfilled, “and the Lord did for Sarah as He had promised. So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him.”
2) Hannah – 1 Samuel 1:5 states, “. . . but the Lord had closed her womb.” In verse 11 Hannah prays that the Lord would give her a son. In verse 19-20 we find, “And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her and it came about in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birth to a son; and she named him Samuel, ‘Because I have asked him from the Lord.”
3) The testimony of the Psalms. Psalm 100:3, “Know that the LORD, Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”
Psalm 127:3, “Behold, children are a gift of the LORD; The fruit of the womb is a reward.”
Psalm 139:13-16, “For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Thy works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from Thee, When I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Thy book they were all written, The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.”
God opens or closes the womb and He forms the individual in the womb. A child in the womb is not just the “product of conception” as euphemistically referred to during abortions. He or she is a unique individual formed by God. The argument that the unborn child is part of the woman’s body is totally false both in terms of its spiritual identity before God and its physical/genetic makeup. Physically, the child is separate from but totally dependent upon the mother. Genetically the child is a mixture of her chromosomes and that of the father and thereby a unique individual. A woman does not have a right to terminate the life growing within her, instead she has a responsibility to protect and nurture the baby within her.
Let me add that the claim that a woman has a right over her own body is also erroneous. If she is married, she belongs to her husband, just as he belongs to her (1 Corinthians 7:4). But married or not and regardless of her own beliefs, her body belongs to the Lord who created her (1 Corinthians 6:13). Humans are not as autonomous as they would like to think.
A woman has a right to choose many things in life, but whether a baby in her womb lives or is murdered is not one of them. And unless the abortion was physically forced upon her, then she along with all those who advised her and performed the abortion are accountable to God for the murder. That includes every law maker that made it legal.
What about the argument that the unborn child is not human until it is outside the womb and breathing on its own? When does the unborn child become a human and gain intrinsic value? The Scriptures we have already examined have hinted at the Biblical concept that a child is fully human at conception, but lets look further.
1) Luke 1:39-45
“Now at this time Mary arose and went with hast to the hill country, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. And it came about that when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice, and said, ‘Blessed among women are you, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.
The unborn infant John the Baptist responded to the presence of the unborn infant Jesus because both were already human. Before he was born, John already possessed a soul that recognized the Messiah
2) Jeremiah 1:4-5, “Now the Word of the Lord came to me saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
The question of when a human becomes a true human in terms of “potentiality” or its ability to survive outside the womb is a non issue because the word of God is clear that at conception a human life is created and that he or she has a soul. To end that life by abortion is nothing less than the willful taking of a human life which is murder. That is the choice that so called “pro-choice” people talk about. They want freedom to murder.
Infanticide and Euthanasia
Everything the Bible says about murder also applies to infanticide and euthanasia which are usually done because it makes life easier for the survivors. Those that advocate so called “mercy killing” for those who are severely handicapped, or are old, or are sick are wrong for two reasons.
First, in Exodus 4:11 God makes it clear to Moses that He makes the dumb, the deaf, the seeing, and the blind. Moses could not speak eloquently, but God would use the handicapped to glorify Himself. Second, there is no right to health. That comes as a mercy from God. In John 9, Jesus pointed out a man who was born blind so that the works of God might be displayed in him. He then healed the man. It is not up to the individual or others to decide the value of life based on some judgment of its quality. All people are created for God’s glory. It is up to God to determine how He will use the individual.
Third, it is not up to man to decide when he will die. The timing of a person’s death is also up to God (Job 14:5; 30:23; Ps 89:46-48; Heb. 9:27). For someone else to play God and purposely take a life is murder. For a person to play God and purposely take their own life is suicide – self-murder. Suicide is always presented as a negative in Scripture. Like Paul in Philippians 1, the Christian may long for Heaven which is very much better than life here, but we remain in the flesh for the sake of others and let God determine when we go home. Infanticide, euthanasia and suicide are all a
cts of selfishness.
What is our responsibility toward these issues?
First, we need to respond with the message of hope, the gospel. The people involved in abortion, infanticide and the euthanasia movement are dupes of the devil, blinded by the god of this age. Even the most evil abortionist in really nothing more than a pawn of Satan. Women more often feel the guilt of the sin, but the men involved are just as responsible and guilty before God. We need to let them know that God can and will forgive them if they will repent and believe. Jesus came to die on the Cross to pay the penalty for our sins – all of them. Abortion can be forgiven. Our first response needs to be the offer of the hope of the gospel to guilt ridden people.
Second, we need to be informed about the issues involved, what occurs in abortions, the laws that pertain to these issues and the activities of organizations that are striving to stem the tide of blood. I have literature on the back table about these issues.
Third, we need to pray. I put this after being informed because we need to be informed in order to pray intelligently and specifically. Prayer needs to be more than just saying, “God, do something about all this killing.” We need informed, fervent prayer such as: “Lord God, abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and suicide are all abominations before you and an attack against you. Show me how I can help prevent them. Give me opportunity to share the hope of the gospel to those who are hurting because of these great sins. Give me opportunity to share your truths with those who may be considering them. Lord, direct our leaders in dealing with these issues. May your Holy Spirit bring conviction upon their souls and change their hearts and minds and conform them to your will. Remove as you see fit those who oppose your law, etc.”.
Fourth, Financial support. Again, there are many organizations fighting these evils. Each one has a different mission. Some are primarily educational, some political, some activist, some provide personal care to those considering abortion – crises pregnancy counseling, homes for unwed mothers, adoption agencies. All of them can use financial support. Check some of them out to see if the Lord would want you involved on this level.
Fifth, get personally involved. Maybe you can be involved in some of the political ramifications – write letters to / call on your representatives. Maybe you can be a pro-life speaker going to schools, clubs, and other organizations to present the truth about the infant in the womb. Maybe you can take time to be involved with a Life Savers or the Care Net Pregnancy Center. Or perhaps you could even provide a home for a pregnant woman who is in difficult circumstances and share the love of Christ with them. Even if you can not provide a home, you can provide friendship and emotional support. The brochure included in the bulletin even tells you how to help extend someone’s life through donation of your own organs and tissues when you die. I would personally encourage you to enroll on the New York State Organ and Tissue Donor Registry. Perhaps the Lord might use a body part you no longer need because you are with Him to extend the life of another Christian, or extend the life of a non-Christian that they may yet hear the gospel and be saved.
Pray and let God show you how and at what level He would want you involved, and then do it.
Pro- Life Organizations
Multiple Life Issues Organizations
The National Right to Life Committee. (I; PA)
419 7th St. N.W. #500, Washington, DC 2004
New York State Right To Life Committee, Inc. (I; PA)
41 State Street, Albany, NY 12207 518-434-1293
Focus on the Family : family.org (I., PA, S)
Crises Pregnancy Centers
Life Saver Ministries (CPC; H)
16 E. Pine Street, Goversville, NY 12708 518/725-5777 1-800-648-HELP
Care Net Pregnancy Center (CPC)
226 Church St., Poughkeepsie, NY 12601 818/471-9284
Special Focus Organizations
afterabortion.org (I, S)
National Council for Adoption: adoptioncouncil.org (I, S)
American Life League: STOPP International (I; A)
(I = Informational. PA = Political Action. A = Activist. CPC = Crisis Pregnancy Center. S = Support services. H = Home for crisis pregnancy mothers)
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help.
Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Write down all the verses mentioned in the sermon and look them up later. 2) Count how many times the word “life” is said. Talk with your parents about the value of human life, and what you can do to help protect it.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. How has the Roe v Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision been detrimental to the United States? Why are each of the following poor reasons to value human life – Human existence; Human ability; Economics? What two factors separates mankind from all animals? Why are these important? What is the biblical basis for capital punishment? How has God responded in the past to those individuals / nations that do not value human life? Why can’t man determine the value of life for himself? How does God’s love proven in Jesus Christ establish worth for human life? How have politics confused the question of abortion? What is God’s involvement in the creation of each human life? Give Biblical examples. both generally and specifically? Does a woman have a right over her body? Why or why not? Is a baby part of that body? Why or why not? When does a human life receive personhood / a soul? Explain each of the following and the primary motivations for abortion, infanticide, euthanasia? Give Biblical reasons that handicaps, even serious ones, are not justification for abortion, infanticide or euthanasia. What is “mercy killing” wrong? What is the Christian’s responsibility toward all these issues? What is your involvement with these issues? Should you do more? If so, what?
Sermon Notes – 1/27/2013
The Value of Human Life
There have been over ____________babies aborted in the United States since Roe v Wade 40 years ago
Doctors routinely recommend abortion of a child that might be sickly, deformed or just ____________
“Born __________ ” laws enacted to try to protect against infanticide
Euthanasia laws already enacted in Washington and ____________
________________ has occurred in the United States before, and could occur again
The Value of Human Life
Being human is not enough for those who consider man just a higher form of ____________
Superior quality arguments do not ______________ the sickly, old or impaired.
Economic arguments can easily be turned to __________of abortion and euthanasia of the unproductive
The Creation of Man – Genesis 1:26-27; 2:7
Animals, creeping things & mankind all made from the dust of the ground – and so _____common traits
God breathed into man the breath of life and give him a ____- an eternal quality not shared in by animals
God commands capital punishment for murder of man because man is made in the ____________of God
Murder is actually a rebellious act against _____________
The right to life & capital punishment are both based on man being made in the _____________of God
Abortion & euthanasia advocates are inconsistent wanting to _____the innocent and keep alive the guilty
Professing “Christians” who advocate these evils __________what God has said and so blaspheme Him
Injustice for murder is a reason Israel & Judah were oppressed & then ________(Dt. 28:15f; cf Ezk. 22)
Proverbs 14:34 – the principle of blessing for obedience and curses for disobedience for _____________
Value is determined by the ___________ / creator, not someone else
Loved by God
Man is _____, yet God had demonstrated His love for him through Jesus’ sacrificial atonement (Rm 5:8)
The value of man is the value God ___________ to redeem him from his sin – Jesus’ life
Your _______is not determined by performance, characteristics, abilities, heritage, social class, opinions
Abortion, infanticide, euthanasia & injustice for murder fail to respect the value _____gives to everyone
Answers to Abortion Arguments
God controls the creation of each _________________ :
1) ____________ & the birth of Isaac (Genesis 16:1-2; 17:15-19; 21:21:2)
2) ____________& the birth of Samuel (1 Samuel 1:5, 11, 19-20)
3) The Testimony of the Psalms: Psalms 100:3;
Each unborn child is an unique ______________formed by God – and is not a part of the woman’s body
A woman had the right to choose many things in life, but not whether to _____________her baby or not
When Human Life Begins:
Luke 1:39-45 – Mary, Elizabeth, John & Jesus
Jeremiah 1:4-5 – formed, known and consecrated ___________ birth
Abortion is nothing less than the ____________ taking of a human life which is murder
Infanticide and Euthanasia – forms of murder
God makes the __________________ for His own purpose – Exodus 4:11
There is no __________ to health – John 9
A. The Hope of the ____________
B. Be ______________ on the Issues
C. ____________ intelligently
D. _____________ Support
E. Personal _______________
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