Have you ever been accused of showing your true colors? Have you ever said it to your spouse or children? Most of us rarely show our real colors in our lives. We put on masks before our bosses, our co-workers, even our friends and relatives. We like to show off our best face to most of these people, and we try to avoid behaviors that could offend, or expressing opinions that could direct anger and opposition towards others and us. We spend most of our lives hiding behind masks, too scared to show the world who we really are and what we are really like. Occasionally, we will let our guard down only in the most intimate spaces. When we’re alone in our bedroom with our spouse. Or in front of our children, especially very young children, who have not yet learned how to judge and criticize us. So where did this expression come from? So where did this expression originate? Why “true colors?”
For over two hundred years, the United Kingdom ruled the world. From the start of the Georgian Era, until the end of the Second World War, Britannia ruled the waves and oceans of the globe. When the English culture and language was spread so far around the world for so long, and when the British Royal Navy was such a key part of spreading this culture, several, now, well-known phrases in the English language, were spread around the world and gradually started being worked into popular speech. One of those expressions was “Showing your true colors.”
The expression dates back to the days of fighting sailing ships when ship captains would disguise the nationality of their vessels by flying a false flag. Once in range of their enemy, they would strike the false flag and hoist their own country’s flag (their true colors). While one could say that it means to “show who you really are,” the connotations of the expression refer more exactly to showing what your loyalties are.
To “show your true colors” means to show yourself for who you really are, or to show your true intentions in a given situation. Many times we tend to use this saying in a negative manor, like when someone has wronged us. What if we as Christians were to use this saying in a positive manor. Jesus spoke in John 13:34-35 NIV “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one an other.” How powerful is that? Everyone will know that you are my disciples. By this very statement we are not only showing our true colors we are also showing where our loyalties are. With this in mind we need not hide behind masks anymore. We need not be afraid to show the world who we really are. We are Disciples of Christ and we are proud show our colors and proud to show who we belong to.
The sailing ships were just flying their colors to show who they belonged to, who they identified with. So I say to you raise your colors and show the world who you belong to, Christ Jesus.