Pardon My French

By Luke P. Flynn

Not too long ago, I happened to be speaking to a gentleman on the phone who claimed to be a Christian and a member of the Lord’s church. In the process of our conversation he had related to me his experiences while living in the South. He said that he was once called a _____ yankee. You fill in the blank. He then proceeded to say, “pardon my French.” Now I may not be the smartest person in the world, and I may not be bilingual, but I do not believe that bad language or a foul mouth has anything to do with French. As a matter of fact the word this fellow used didn’t sound like French at all to me and I’m not sure I should pardon it – even if it were French.

This “infamous” phrase is used a lot by many people – including, unfortunately, Christians who seek to excuse or justify their bad language. The use of bad language is always wrong whether it is in French, English, German or Swahili! James commanded us in his writing on this matter when he related sweet and bitter water coming forth from the same fountain not to use bad language. He said, “My brethren, these things ought not so to be” (Jas. 3:9-12). We must refrain ourselves from the use of such language if we are going to claim Christianity.

Another problem that exists among our tribe is the use of euphemisms which are phrases or words of lesser expression or directness but have the very same meaning. Words such as Gee, Gee Whiz, Golly, Gosh, Heck, etc. are all derived from the words: God, Christ & Hell. Don’t take my word – please – look them up. “Sound speech that cannot be condemned,- that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you” (Tit. 2:8). We must be as serious and conscientious about our speech as we are in every other aspect of Christian living. When we being to look at profane words as though they are nothing we have developed a serious problem that needs immediate correction. Make no mistake, this is not the opinion of some half baked preacher. If we can’t see the evil involved then we are indeed blind, for even the world recognizes the use (or misuse) of certain words as profane and nasty. How can we honestly stand as adults and use such gutter language when we would wash our children’s mouths out for such speech? “Let your speech be always with grace seasoned with salt” (Col. 4:6). Think about it!

Guardian of Truth XXXV: 13, p. 390
July 4, 1991