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The Pitfall Of Perfectionism
The Gospel Coalition ^ | 2 June 11 | Tullian Tchividjian

Posted on 06/05/2011 4:09:34 PM PDT by Gamecock

I recently read this from Steve Brown and had to share it with you:

She was only twenty-six years old. She was a Christian working in a church. After college she had served for a year on the mission field. I didn’t know her well, but I liked her a lot. She was a strong witness for Christ and she was an articulate spokesperson for evangelical Christianity. This morning I got the message that she had taken her life. I was absolutely devastated. I didn’t understand.

As if that were not enough, shortly after hearing about her suicide I got a call from a man who listens to my radio broadcast. “Steve,” he said, “I haven’t told anybody in the world what I’m going to tell you. I have decided to leave my wife and I told God that if I get through to you, I would do whatever you told me to do.”

I asked him what prompted him to decide to leave her.

He told me, “I became a Christian at fourteen and all my life I’ve been seeking to live up to the expectations of others. I work full-time in a ministry, I teach the Bible, and everyone thinks I’m the model Christian. I’m just tired of it. I’ve decided to do something for myself for a change.”

Let me share a letter with you that I received a couple weeks ago. There was no return address and the person gave me no name.

Dear Stephen,

Please pray for me as I am on the edge–a total failure as a Christian. I have failed as a husband and as a father. God has probably given up on me. I feel so very alone and abandoned. It’s a horrible feeling that words alone cannot describe. Please don’t judge me. Pray for me.

At first these three incidents didn’t seem related. They were just about individuals for whom I prayed. But in the silence of my prayer it dawned on me that they all had the same problem: They all had created a false standard of perfection (or accepted someone else’s standard) and concluded they couldn’t live up to it.

What advice would you give them? If you had talked to the young lady before her suicide, or the man thinking about leaving his wife, or the anonymous correspondent–what would you have said?

Most Christians would say that they should try harder. The problem is that all three already had–and they were at the end of themselves.

Others would try to help them trace their despair back to some unconfessed sin in their lives–drawing a straight line between their spiritual depression and their spiritual failure.

And still others would tell them to have faith. And yet, they discovered that the faith they needed couldn’t be turned on and off like a faucet.

But what would Jesus have told them? We don’t have to guess: “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Perfectionism (or performancism) is a horrible disease. It comes from the pit of hell, smelling like rotting flesh. Someone convinced these folks that they were called to measure up to an unattainable standard. They couldn’t do it and each in his or her own way simply quit trying.

Nobody told them that Jesus was perfect for them, and because of that they didn’t have to be perfect for themselves. They didn’t understand that if Jesus makes you free, you will be free indeed.

Christian, please remember that Jesus plus nothing equals everything. That,

Because Jesus was strong for you, you’re free to be weak;

Because Jesus won for you, you’re free to lose;

Because Jesus was Someone, you’re free to be no one;

Because Jesus was extraordinary, you’re free to be ordinary;

Because Jesus succeeded for you, you’re free to fail.

Preaching the gospel is the only thing that helps us take our eyes off ourselves and how we’re doing and fix our eyes on Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith. Jesus fulfilled all of God’s perfect conditions so that our relationship to God could be perfectly unconditional.

You’re free!


TOPICS: General Discusssion
KEYWORDS: gospel; perfection

1 posted on 06/05/2011 4:09:41 PM PDT by Gamecock
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To: drstevej; OrthodoxPresbyterian; CCWoody; Wrigley; Gamecock; Jean Chauvin; jboot; AZhardliner; ...

2 posted on 06/05/2011 4:11:56 PM PDT by Gamecock (It's not eat drink and be merry because tommow we die, but rather because yesterday we were dead.)
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To: Gamecock

I needed to read this.

Thank you for posting it.


3 posted on 06/05/2011 4:13:22 PM PDT by adm5 (AMERICA HAS ONLY GOD AND THE SECOND AMENDMENT LEFT TO SAVE THE REPUBLIC. by: LibLieSlayer 3/18/10)
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To: greyfoxx39; Colofornian

Actually, some cults have high levels of depression, probably for the very same reason outlined above.


4 posted on 06/05/2011 4:13:29 PM PDT by Gamecock (It's not eat drink and be merry because tommow we die, but rather because yesterday we were dead.)
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To: Colofornian; Elsie; FastCoyote; svcw; Zakeet; SkyPilot; rightazrain; Tennessee Nana; ...

Ping.


5 posted on 06/05/2011 4:17:21 PM PDT by greyfoxx39 (Why do people try to "out-nice" Jesus?)
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To: Gamecock

Just excellent!


6 posted on 06/05/2011 4:18:53 PM PDT by greyfoxx39 (Why do people try to "out-nice" Jesus?)
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To: Gamecock

Thanks


7 posted on 06/05/2011 4:20:25 PM PDT by svcw (Non forgiveness is like holding a hot coal thinking the other person will be blistered)
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To: Gamecock
Most Christians would say that they should try harder

I hope this is not true. It would make Christians sound like mindless idiots.

8 posted on 06/05/2011 4:21:21 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: Gamecock

AGYG <——lives in freedom...and without fear, for I know in Whom I have believed.

It’s also important to remember that our Heavenly Father told us there’d be days like this. (I Tim 4:1; Matt. 24:10)


9 posted on 06/05/2011 4:23:59 PM PDT by anniegetyourgun
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To: Gamecock

So sorry, Gc. I’ve known some who want to be w/G*d. I can’t judge. All I can do is pray. Godspeed.


10 posted on 06/05/2011 4:36:31 PM PDT by Silentgypsy (You know if I don’t remember I’m gonna forget.)
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To: Gamecock; left that other site; Vision; Kitty Mittens; jackv; Outlaw Woman; Hiskid; ...

Such a beautiful and inspiring message! Thank you!


11 posted on 06/05/2011 4:41:37 PM PDT by Silentgypsy (You know if I don’t remember I’m gonna forget.)
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To: Gamecock

TYFP (Thank You For Posting)


12 posted on 06/05/2011 4:42:30 PM PDT by Valpal1 ("No clever arrangement of bad eggs ever made a good omelet." ~ C.S. Lewis)
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To: Gamecock

This is an excellent piece. Thanks for posting.


13 posted on 06/05/2011 4:43:35 PM PDT by Albion Wilde (Thank you, Dubya and U.S. military. You did not falter. You did not fail.)
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To: Silentgypsy; Gamecock

Beautiful article.

Thanks for the ping Silentgypsy.


14 posted on 06/05/2011 4:56:35 PM PDT by AZamericonnie
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To: Gamecock

Thank you so much for posting this. I really, really needed this today.


15 posted on 06/05/2011 5:06:12 PM PDT by WaldenPond (No Taxation Without Representation)
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To: Gamecock

Thank you so much for posting this. I really, really needed this today.


16 posted on 06/05/2011 5:06:20 PM PDT by WaldenPond (No Taxation Without Representation)
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To: Gamecock

Thank you so much for posting this. I really, really needed this today.


17 posted on 06/05/2011 5:06:24 PM PDT by WaldenPond (No Taxation Without Representation)
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To: Gamecock

This is excellent. I love Steve Brown anyway.


18 posted on 06/05/2011 5:24:46 PM PDT by Paved Paradise
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To: Gamecock

Jesus came to save sinners. When someone called Him “good master” he scolded them, saying, “No one is good except the Father.” Any Christian who tries to be good is doing Satan’s work.
The fruit of the spirit flows from being reborn as a child of Christ. Sin is always with us. We can not avoid it. We can, however, be forgiven for our sin.
The burden is lifted from us not because we deserve salvation but specifically because we acknowledge we do not deserve the Lord’s mercy. It is in the humility of acknowledging that we can do nothing to save ourselves that Christ is able to give us a new heart and a new mind.
Even after salvation we do not need to prove anything. We belong to Christ. That is enough. He continues to forgive us our sinful state. The practice of sin cannot be removed because we remain creatures of the earth.
Our spirit, however, is lifted up and the burden of sin is removed. We are made, in Him, free at last, free at last. Thank God in Heaven we are free at last.


19 posted on 06/05/2011 5:30:05 PM PDT by Louis Foxwell (For love of Sarah, our country and the American Way of Life.)
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To: Silentgypsy

Thanks for the Ping, SG.


20 posted on 06/05/2011 5:50:46 PM PDT by left that other site
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To: Silentgypsy

Thank you for the ping SG. That is a powerful message.


21 posted on 06/05/2011 6:20:50 PM PDT by Outlaw Woman ("...; because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee,... "Hosea 4:6)
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To: Gamecock

I love Steve Brown - he’s my favorite radio preacher ever.


22 posted on 06/05/2011 6:27:06 PM PDT by Some Fat Guy in L.A. (Wanna learn humility? Become a Pittsburgh Pirates fan!)
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To: Gamecock

I love Steve Brown - he’s my favorite radio preacher ever.


23 posted on 06/05/2011 6:27:14 PM PDT by Some Fat Guy in L.A. (Wanna learn humility? Become a Pittsburgh Pirates fan!)
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To: Gamecock

Thanks for that - I needed it as well.


24 posted on 06/05/2011 7:08:03 PM PDT by llandres (Forget the "New America" - restore the original one!!)
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To: Gamecock

A friend of mine wasnt saved, and I was trying to explain Gods love.
He had a 20 year old hound; bad hips bad bladder, bad everything, but he didnt have the heart to put her down.

We came in to find she’d peed the floor again. As he was mopping it up, mumbling swear words and trying not to yell at her, I asked “arent you mad at her?” “No, its not her fault. She cant help it.”
“Do you love her any less?” “Of course not!” And he was ‘bout ready to knock me out the room for suggesting it.
I laughed, “Now you understand how God feels about you every time you screw up. And when you do, you look to him just like (the hound) does at you.”


25 posted on 06/05/2011 7:42:20 PM PDT by dave.gillam
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Comment #26 Removed by Moderator

To: helloandgoodbye

**Matthew 5:48
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.**

You know anyone, other than Jesus, who has pulled this off? Have you?


27 posted on 06/06/2011 5:28:25 AM PDT by Gamecock (It's not eat drink and be merry because tommow we die, but rather because yesterday we were dead.)
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To: Gamecock

It’s impossible to live the Christian life, just as the children of Israel found it impossible to obey the whole law.

The secret is to commit the heart to Jeshua Hammeshiah (Christ Jesus) and then let Him live the Christian life through you.


28 posted on 06/06/2011 6:16:10 AM PDT by RoadTest (Organized religion is no substitute for the relationship the living God wants with you.)
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To: RoadTest
Jeshua Hammeshiah

Where did you get the Hammeshiah? that sounds like Persian for "always"...

29 posted on 06/06/2011 6:20:39 AM PDT by Cronos (Palin, Cain, Jindal)
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To: RoadTest

Somebody’s put it very succinctly: “All the religions and cults of the world say ‘Do. Do. Do. (or ‘Don’t. Don’t. Don’t.’) ‘ Christianity says ‘Done’ “.

Jeshua has already lived the Christian life and taken our judgement (punishment) for us, and He invites us to appropriate that victory. May we be found in the Beloved.

Peace and Joy to you in the Holy Ghost.


30 posted on 06/06/2011 6:23:24 AM PDT by RoadTest (Organized religion is no substitute for the relationship the living God wants with you.)
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To: Gamecock; Kitty Mittens; All
The divine prescription is complete faith in Christ and complete joyful submission to God's will for your life.

To God Alone the Glory!

31 posted on 06/06/2011 6:24:59 AM PDT by alpha-8-25-02 ("SAVED BY GRACE AND GRACE ALONE")
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To: Cronos

“Jeshua Hammeshiah
Where did you get the Hammeshiah? that sounds like Persian for “always”...Jeshua Hammeshiah
Where did you get the Hammeshiah? that sounds like Persian for “always”...”

It’s Messiah Jehova Is Salvation, the original of Christ Jesus’ name before Pope Damasus (Sp.?) told Jerome to change it to Latin (which is never done anywhere in translating).


32 posted on 06/06/2011 6:34:39 AM PDT by RoadTest (Organized religion is no substitute for the relationship the living God wants with you.)
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To: RoadTest

The “secret” is to say I can’t do this. I am a sinner. Jesus have mercy on me.

Then the Holy Spirit WILL conform you to a life of obedience. This side of Glory we will not get there, but the Holy Spirit will move us in that direction.


33 posted on 06/06/2011 7:01:44 AM PDT by Gamecock (It's not eat drink and be merry because tommow we die, but rather because yesterday we were dead.)
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To: Gamecock
I find a really nasty form of Perfectionism in the nursing home I visit.

Some folks there believe if they have any unconfessed sin on them (even one they've forgotten) they will go to Hell. There are Catholics that believe maybe they forgotten or missed a 'Mortal Sin' and that they will die and not go to heaven if they don't get a priest in time.

This is not Faith, this is works righteousness. It is saying "I have to maintain my Salvation and not Trust Christ or I could miss Heaven". No, Christ said "No one can snatch them from the Father's hand". Are you more Powerful than God the Father??

No One, not even you, can snatch yourself out of God's hand. Your not even close to having that power.

No, It is time to believe. Believe that God the Father chose to love you irresistibly from before the Foundation of the Word. God the Father drew you to the Lord Jesus Christ just as Christ said "No one can come to me except the Father, who sent me, draws him". God the Father, wooed folks like us and drew us to Christ with His love before we even thought of Him.

It is time to Believe that God saved folks like us by His Grace Alone and not on the basis of works (so that none may boast).

Put the Idea of Sinless Perfection and your choice of Him as earning your Salvation away. Both are illusions and only lead to despair.

Realize that your Faith did not come from you, it was a gift implanted by God just as the Lord Jesus Christ said "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life." - Not will have, but Has.

Believe.

34 posted on 06/06/2011 7:35:09 AM PDT by sr4402
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Comment #35 Removed by Moderator

To: Silentgypsy

Thank you. It’s all about Grace, isn’t it?


36 posted on 06/06/2011 1:32:40 PM PDT by Hiskid (Jesus is Lord)
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To: Silentgypsy; alpha-8-25-02; Gamecock
Thank you for the Pings to this Wonderful Article, Silentgypsy and Alpha, and for Posting it, Gamecock.
It was an Excellent Read!
37 posted on 06/06/2011 8:05:53 PM PDT by Kitty Mittens (To God Be All Excellent Praise!)
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To: RoadTest
?Christus is a Greek term not Latin -- the Hebrew term is Mashiah. The terms in English are synonymous: Christ=Messiah. However, the first term the "Christians" were called anything was named after Christus

Finally, Pope Damasus did not do this name change as the term originates from the Greek during Apostolic times

38 posted on 06/06/2011 10:30:53 PM PDT by Cronos (Palin, Cain, Jindal)
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To: Cronos

“?Christus is a Greek term not Latin — the Hebrew term is Mashiah. The terms in English are synonymous: Christ=Messiah. However, the first term the “Christians” were called anything was named after Christus
Finally, Pope Damasus did not do this name change as the term originates from the Greek during Apostolic times”

Boy! I’m just wrong about everything, aren’t I?!


39 posted on 06/07/2011 4:21:14 AM PDT by RoadTest (Organized religion is no substitute for the relationship the living God wants with you.)
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To: RoadTest
Boy! I’m just wrong about everything, aren’t I?!

Hardly -- you just made a few slips in this -- the hammeshiah threw me off -- it looks exactly like Persian. But the word Christus is really old -- from Apostolic times and it is in Greek which was the lingua Franca (along with Aramaic) of the Middle East during the time of Jesus Christ and the apostles.

40 posted on 06/07/2011 4:27:52 AM PDT by Cronos (Palin, Cain, Jindal)
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To: Cronos

“Hardly — you just made a few slips in this — the hammeshiah threw me off — it looks exactly like Persian. But the word Christus is really old — from Apostolic times and it is in Greek which was the lingua Franca (along with Aramaic) of the Middle East during the time of Jesus Christ and the apostles. “

Yes. The New Testament was originally written in Greek. My point was, we don’t normally translate proper nouns (names).

Giuseppi Verdi does not become “Joe Green”on English. In Spanish, William Shakespeare is still “William Shakespeare”. We don’t translate names. But in translating the Bible into Latin, Miriam became “Maria”. Jeshua became “Jesus”.

So, you’re saying it happened when the writers of the New Testament translated Hebrew into Greek.


41 posted on 06/07/2011 5:03:40 AM PDT by RoadTest (Organized religion is no substitute for the relationship the living God wants with you.)
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To: RoadTest
Just to clarify -- the "hardly" is because your statement "I'm just wrong about everything, aren't I"!" is incorrect -- you can hardly be wrong about everything!

The New Testament was originally written in Greek. My point was, we don’t normally translate proper nouns (names). -- Yet the term "Christ" is not a name, neither is Messiah or haMeshiah. That is a term added to Christ's name.

Most Jews at that time, like many Arabs today wouldn't have a surname. They would be like Simon Bar Jona -- Simon son of Jonah or in modern Arab terms like Sheikh Isa ibn Hamad ibn Khalid. At the most they would have a tribal name affixed (only in later Europe were locations or occupations added like "Fields" or "Smith")

Jesus' surname was definitely not "haMeshiah" or "Christus" -- those were the terms used to indicate that He was the Messiah

42 posted on 06/07/2011 5:24:00 AM PDT by Cronos (Palin, Cain, Jindal)
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To: RoadTest
Also, Giuseppi Verdi does not necessarily become Joe Green in English, but Giuseppe is the Italian version of the original Hebrew/Aramaic name of Yusuf as did Joseph.

John starts off as the Hebrew Yohanan then becomes Greek Ioannes and then Latin Iohannes but becomes John in English, Jan in Swedish, Polish etc.

The translation of these names did not occur during the translation from Greek to Latin (since both were Indo-European and hence had the same phonemes), so Jerome (the translator to the Latin Vulgate) is off the hook!

Why did they change from Aramaic/Hebrew to Greek? I'm guessing due to three reasons:

  1. The movement from a Semitic language to an Indo-European one necessitated changing sounds to those in the translated language -- let me give you an example. I'm an American settled in Poland and only after marrying my wife did I realise that the former President of Poland's name is not "Leck Walesa" but is properly pronounced as "LeH Vawensa" -- there are lots of sounds in German, French, Slavic languages, Indian languages that are not there in English. Even more so in the Semitic languages -- whether Hebrew "Sh'ma Yisrael, Adonai elohanu, Adonai echad" or Arabic "La illah allah mohammad al rasurillah, shadwan al rasurillah" -- different sounds that don't exist in our language. Definitely there would be sounds not shared between Hebrew and Greek

  2. Hebrew was also written without vowels -- pretty perplexing, eh? so, for the speakers of Greek, it would be easier to take the most common prononciation and use it

  3. A different script can add to point one -- something there just aren't letters in the alphabet that translate the sound! For instance, my name is John, translated into Hindi is मेरा नाम जॉन है -- but the "John" there has to be pronounced as "Jaahn" if one uses the limitations of that alphabet (of course it's the same the other way around -- the Latin script can't translate many Hindi words

43 posted on 06/07/2011 5:36:07 AM PDT by Cronos (Palin, Cain, Jindal)
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To: Cronos

“Jesus’ surname was definitely not “haMeshiah” or “Christus” — those were the terms used to indicate that He was the Messiah”

“The Annointed One”. Yes, Messiah is a title of office, like “Commisioner” or “Your Majesty” or “Your Honor”.


44 posted on 06/07/2011 5:37:50 AM PDT by RoadTest (Organized religion is no substitute for the relationship the living God wants with you.)
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To: RoadTest
So, you’re saying it happened when the writers of the New Testament translated Hebrew into Greek.

Well, I already established my point that Meshiah/Messiah or Chrystus/Christ was not Jesus surname, and the first time Christians were called Christians is after Chrystus (and thats in Acts) -- we're not called Meshiahians ;-P (well actually, in Arabic we are called Isai - from Meshiah)

But the translation of Hebrew/Aramaic names occurred far earlier -- right from Alexander the Great's conquering of the Middle East in the 3rd century BC, Greek dominated and local terminologies, languages etc. had to be "translated" into Greek.

45 posted on 06/07/2011 5:39:30 AM PDT by Cronos (Palin, Cain, Jindal)
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To: RoadTest
Yes, Messiah is a title of office, like “Commisioner” or “Your Majesty” or “Your Honor”.

you could say that.

46 posted on 06/07/2011 5:40:21 AM PDT by Cronos (Palin, Cain, Jindal)
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