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A willing sacrifice

Trebes, France Credit: Didier Descouens/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Trèbes, France Credit: Didier Descouens/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

An attack on a French supermarket on Friday, March 23, 2018, revealed the stark contrast between Christians and Muslim extremists.

An ISIS radicalized Moroccan-born man, Radouane Lakdim, 25, stormed a grocery store in Trèbes and took hostages in an effort to have Salah Abdeslam released. He was the sole survivor of a group of terrorists responsible for an attack in Paris in November 2015 that killed 130 people.

Prior to his arrival at the Super U grocery store, Ladkim had fired on a car in the neighboring town of Carcassonne killing the passenger and wounding the driver. He stole the vehicle and then drove to a police barracks and shot at police officers jogging nearby severely injuring one.

From there he proceeded to the grocery store in Trèbes where he took hostages.

In the end, Lakdim murdered his three hostages before being killed by police. One of those hostages was a French policeman Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltrane, 44, second in charge with the responding police gendarme, as they are called in France.

When the police cornered the extremist in the supermarket’s vault with three hostages, Beltrane dropped his gun, raised his hands in the air and walked into the vault offering to take the place of one of the hostages.

Lakdim took Beltrane and released a woman.

But Beltrane also left his cell phone on so police could hear what was going on.  From this, police determined that explosives had also been set around the supermarket.

After hearing gunfire, the police stormed the vault and found the terrorist had killed two of the hostages and Beltrane was severely wounded having been shot in the neck, stabbed and according to one report also had his throat slashed.

Beltrane died a hero in hospital the next day.

Since the incident, it was discovered that Beltrane was a practicing Christian. According to the Catholic Herald, Beltrane had converted to Catholicism in 2008, after a chance meeting with Father Jean-Baptiste at the Mother of God of Lagrasse Abbey.

Beltrane grew up in a non-religious family and his conversion to Christianity seems genuine. Baptiste stated that Beltrane, a 2005 Iraqi vet, had put “all his hope and trust in Jesus Christ.” Being Roman Catholic or going to an Evangelical church does not automatically make you a Christian, it is your personal faith in Christ.

According to the police chaplain, Fr. Dominique Arz, Beltrane was open about his faith on the force and “bore witness to his faith to the very end.”.

Though we do not know what Beltrane was thinking when he made the decision, undoubtedly he knew the risks involved and wrestled with fear.

In an interview with BBC, Beltrane’s brother Cedrick said, that “he gave his life for strangers. He must have known that he didn’t have a chance. If that doesn’t make him a hero, I don’t know what does.”

Beltrane’s wife added that her husband’s sacrifice in the week leading up to Easter can only be understood in light of his personal faith.

While an ISIS terrorist was willing to murder innocent people, Beltrane became a willing sacrifice for someone he didn’t even know.

It is not that Beltrane did not have fear, but rather he conquered it. In his vision of the end times, the Apostle John saw a new breed of believers who did not fear of death:

11 And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. (Revelation 12:11 NASV)

And according to the Apostle Paul, it is this lack of fear that is a sign to Satan of his ultimate defeat (Philippians 1:28).



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