And yet look at what Paul says in Philemon: “was useless; is useful.” And then he grows much more intimate by the time of Colossians 4 – faithful, dear brother, one of you. And I wonder: how do you go from that to that? From outside to inside? From failure to brother? From deserves death to becomes family? I think of how easy it would have been for Onesimus to lurk in the shadows of the church even after his conversion, to stay detached, uninvolved, excluded, to be and get what he deserved. And get this: it would have been so tempting to use his past and use his failure as an excuse. They won’t accept me. I’m AWOL and a thief.