8 Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, 9 yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus— 10 that I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. 11 Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.
This passage is about second chances. Onesimus was a slave who was unfaithful and fled from his master Philemon. We don’t know all of the circumstances and why he left. Was he mistreated by his master or did he have family that he missed and really wanted to see them again? There is no evidence or facts about why he left. However, there is an incredible turn-around story when Onesimus came to know Jesus. He became a great servant and served God faithfully, being invaluable to Paul’s ministry.
The time came that Onesimus had to face his past and go back to Philemon. Paul wrote a great testimony letter to Philemon, appealing for him to accept Onesimus back as a brother. Paul had his own past to deal with when met Jesus on the road to Damascus. Paul was also a changed man as he was given a second chance. God gives us all second chances. We may have blown it years ago or may mess up again next week. We need to be humble and approach the throne of God to ask for forgiveness and move on. God will be willing to give us another chance.