1. What responsibility does each of us have?
1 In the Christian brotherhood, each of us has a responsibility to contribute to the warmth of the congregation. (1 Pet. 1:22; 2:17) Such warmth is generated when we “widen out” in our tender affections for one another. (2 Cor. 6:12, 13) Why is it important to get to know our brothers and sisters well?
2. Why is it important to develop friendships with fellow believers?
2 Friendships Grow Stronger: As we become better acquainted with fellow believers, we come to appreciate their faith, endurance, and other fine qualities more fully. Their shortcomings seem smaller to us, and the bonds of friendship grow. Knowing one another well, we are in a better position to build up and comfort one another. (1 Thess. 5:11) We can become “a strengthening aid” to one another to resist the unwholesome influences of Satan’s world. (Col. 4:11) In view of these pressure-filled last days, how grateful we are to have good friends among Jehovah’s people!—Prov. 18:24.
3. How can we be a strengthening aid to others?
3 Close friends can be a special source of strength and comfort when we face severe trials. (Prov. 17:17) One Christian who struggled with feelings of worthlessness recalls: “There were friends who would say positive things about me to help me overcome the negative thoughts I had.” Such friends are a blessing from Jehovah.—Prov. 27:9.
4. How can we get to know others in the congregation better?
4 Reach Out to Others: How can we widen out in our tender affections for fellow believers? In addition to greeting others at Christian meetings, make an effort to engage them in meaningful conversation. Without prying into their private matters, show personal interest. (Phil. 2:4; 1 Pet. 4:15) Another way to reach out to others is by inviting them over for a meal. (Luke 14:12-14) Or you might arrange to work with them in the field ministry. (Luke 10:1) As we take the initiative to get to know our brothers better, we foster unity in the congregation.—Col. 3:14.
5. What is one way to expand our friendships?
5 Do we tend to choose our close associates only from among those of our age group or those whose interests are similar to our own? We should not let such factors limit the friendships we cultivate in the congregation. David and Jonathan as well as Ruth and Naomi forged strong bonds of friendship despite differences in age and background. (Ruth 4:15; 1 Sam. 18:1) Can you expand your friendships? Doing so can bring unanticipated blessings.
6. What are some benefits of widening out in our tender affections for our brothers?
6 By widening out in our tender affections for others, we strengthen one another and promote peace in the congregation. Furthermore, Jehovah himself blesses us for the love we show our brothers. (Ps. 41:1, 2; Heb. 6:10) Why not make it your goal to get better acquainted with as many as possible?