Did you ever notice, Jesus never talks to the disciples about the other disciples? There is one incident of Jesus answering a question about another disciple and he answers in front of everyone (that is, Judas at the last supper: John 13:21-30). But you never see Jesus going to Matthew and saying, “Man… Peter is such a dolt!” Jesus never goes to John and says, “I’m really concerned about Thomas, did you know he blah blah blah.” Jesus never looks at James and says, “so… your brother? How’s he doing?” Jesus never participates in gossip, he never gossips, and he never invites gossip. On the contrary, when the Lord is asked to gossip He answers very clearly (John 21:21-22). So, I think we can learn something of how to handle people tempting us to gossip as well as our own wicked tendencies toward gossip.
First, Jesus points people to the work at hand. When the Peter asks Jesus about the disciple whom Jesus loved in John 21:22, Jesus responds, “if it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow ME!” When someone tries to drag you into gossip, you point them to work! Apparently Jesus knew something about us. If we are busy working and are focused on the goal, then we don’t have time or interest in gossip. Gossip is a bored man’s sin.
Second, Jesus points people to eternity. In Matthew 10 when Jesus is asked by James and John if they can sit at his right and left, the other disciples start to complain about them. Jesus quickly answers by calling them all over and talking about the structure of authority in Heaven. He points them to Heavenly principles to quell the gossip.
Third, Jesus points people to humility. In the above story, Jesus admonishes the disciples that they must serve in order to be great. It is here we see that in our humiliation we are exalted by God.
Ephesians 5 says we are to be “imitators of God.” Therefore, it is necessary that we strive to imitate Christ. So get to work and focus on eternity.