There are few things that are as potentially destructive as harsh words. Whether they are simply negative observations or, even worse, statements meant to offend or malign others, they have the ability to inflict a great deal of harm. In fact, saying hurtful things can be so damaging that they can actually drive people away from God.

We often use harsh words when we’re angry or frustrated with someone. We might even curse them or call them names. Derogatory words don’t please the Lord and only speak of our attitude more than that of the person who has caused our wrath.

When we’re mad at someone, it’s tempting to lash out with insults, but maybe we should take a step back and ask ourselves if that’s really what we want to do. These bible verses would make you think twice so you’d bite your tongue before an exclamation of anger slips out:

Proverbs 15:1 NIV

A gentle answer turns away wrath,
    but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Ephesians 4:29 NIV

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Proverbs 29:11 NIV

Fools give full vent to their rage,
    but the wise bring calm in the end.

Proverbs 12:18 NIV

The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
    but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

James 1:19-20 NIV

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

Colossians 3:8 NIV

But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.

James 1:26 NIV

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.

Proverbs 15:4 NIV

The soothing tongue is a tree of life,
    but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.

Proverbs 13:3 NIV

Those who guard their lips preserve their lives,
    but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.

Proverbs 21:23 NIV

Those who guard their mouths and their tongues
    keep themselves from calamity.