Throughout history, Christians have faced persecution. Christian guidance teaches Christians to trust God and forgive people, rather than hold on to hatred towards others.
Christians believe in justice and in the idea that all people should be treated equally.
Blessed are the Peacemakers.Matthew 5:9
Reconciliation is very important for Christians, who believe that it is something everybody should aim for. Some Christians act as mediators to help bring an end to conflicts. An example is Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who tried to bring together black and white people in South Africa following the end of apartheid.
When Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa, Archbishop Tutu chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Committee, where the perpetrators of terrible crimes met with and were forgiven by their victims.
Christians believe that they should follow the teachings in the Parable of the Sheep and Goats. However, it is important that all of these actions are done with love, as St Paul said,
If I give all that I possess to the poor, but do not have love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:3)
Pax Christi is an organisation that works internationally for human rights and peace. It believes that violence should be avoided.
The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) works in disaster areas and has more than 500 partners in less economically developed countries.
CAFOD has worked in Zambia, where there has been an HIV epidemic and problems with the economy since the late 1960s. The organisation has provided emergency food for those affected by drought. It has also trained people in many areas in how to grow food in community gardens, how to maintain and repair wells (many of which were installed by CAFOD in partnership with the local people), and how to plan for future droughts.
CAFOD has been working in Myanmar since 1993 providing support for the poorest people and helping to deal with natural disasters, such as tropical cyclones.
In Ethiopia, CAFOD’s focus has been on helping with farming with the aim of solving the issue of malnutrition. The organisation has provided animal feed to communities that rely on herding, and it has tried to help improve long-term farming conditions.
Tearfund has been working in Ethiopia since the 1970s, beginning by creating self-help groups in order to make the country sustainable. It has also provided emergency aid following droughts.
In Zambia, Tearfund has focused on teaching skills to local people, such as how to plant crops so as to produce a large amount of food.
In Myanmar there has been a large focus on health care, and Tearfund has set up a training centre so that local people can be trained as medical professionals to help in their local communities. Over 480 people have been trained as community health workers with a knowledge of medication and basic disease-prevention techniques.
Christian Aid has been working in Ethiopia for over 30 years and has been trying to make communities more resilient to natural disasters such as drought. It has also been working to make health care better.
In Myanmar, Christian Aid wants to tackle violence and promote equality for all.
What should all Christians aim for despite being persecuted in many places?
Reconciliation - ending conflicts is very important.