The severity of publicly shaming another person is well known; one who does so has no portion in the World to Come. Our Sages said that is it better to fall into a burning furnace rather than shame another person in public. But, unfortunately, whenever there is a fight between two individuals they disgrace and curse each other, and each one talks about the defects of the other — mentioning whatever misdeeds the fellow did since time immemorial and years gone by. People also fabricate things about each other. Now, while these fabrications are serious because they are slanderous, but it is worse when one person shames another with some deficiency that was really true, for when he attempts to embarrass the other one with something that was never true, it does not shame him as when he mentions the other person’s old sins — that truly shames the person and it is the equivalent of spilling the fellow’s blood.
A person who does this never repents because he is convinced that he has done no wrong. He says to himself: “What of it? I only said the truth!” He fails to realize the severity of his sin of shaming someone.
It also happens that a person brings shame to another person without meaning to. If one speaks about the defects of the other person or of disgraceful deeds he did in the past — even if it was unintentional — this is still a trace of shaming. Silence is therefore often the best option, for the more words said the more one is likely to err.