At work we have to wear lanyards. To the uninitiated, these are ribbons that go about the neck with a photographic ID card attached. Emblazoned upon the lanyard is the employer’s name and on the ID card my own, complete with unflattering picture. So terrified are we of charlatans and criminals, that all public and private sector employees of large organisations seemingly wear such things.

To demonstrate the pointlessness of such objects, I once replaced my lanyard’s ID with a credit card for a week. No-one noticed, but I persuaded myself that losing it would cost me too dearly. So on the ID card’s reverse, I instead drew a stickman and wrote a colleague’s name beneath it. Again, no-one noticed, and I turned it back round after a couple of weeks, having grown bored of my own little joke.

Lanyards of course are good and proper and should be treated with the respect that they deserve. There is however a danger that we ignore strangers if they happen to be wearing a coloured ribbon with a plastic card attached, wandering about with an air of confidence. When intrusive reporters wanted to photograph George Michael visiting his dying mother in hospital, they simply donned white doctors’ coats and everyone let them pass through. Nowadays, they would just look scruffy and unshaved, and they’d pass well enough for junior doctors. Add a lanyard and you’d pass through hospital security like a diplomatic bag.

There are many false teachers out there who masquerade as both messengers of truth and angels of light. Some wear clerical collars and cassocks, others wear dark, godly-looking suit and dark tie combos. Reverend so-and-so may dress the part, he may even sound the part, but what gospel does he preach? Just as we would do well look closely at ID badges casually worn, so we should not assume someone speaks God’s truth just because they wear a religious habit.

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay