C.S. Lewis, in his classic essay "The Trouble With 'X'", points out a major truism of the spiritual life: What we despise or find repulsive in others, we ourselves (in some way, even if hidden from view) also do.
Like Lewis, the Church Fathers have a way of hitting you in the proverbial mouth. Here is a classic:
"Do not pay attention to the words of an arrogant man, but rather to their power. It often happens that words that appear harsh at first sight, do not proceed from any harshness of the heart, but only from habit. How would it be if everyone paid strict critical attention to our words, without Christian love, indulgent, sheltering, kindly, and patient?"
--Saint John of Kronstadt
We recently hired a new girl in my office who has a large chip on her shoulder. I've found myself resenting her attitude and her way of speaking but as I thought about it, I realized that what I am really upset about is that I do the same thing: offer up words from an arrogant heart.
Then the questions began to flow like rain: Do others think of me the way I think of her? Do I show her the same patience and longsuffering that both God and my neighbor must for me? Do I realize that she, with her horrible past and cross to bear, may be speaking out of habit and not with intent to harm whereas I speak not from habit but with reasonable knowledge?