by Deacon Derrick and Mistianna Barnes
Being “the King” at our house means completely and totally forgiving someone for the wrong they have done to you.”
Derrick: As Catholics, we view marriage as a sacred sacrament and a covenant with God. Since, I’m a Deacon in the Catholic Church, I have the honor of witnessing weddings and I always catch Mistianna, tearing up in the pew, when the couple exchanges their marriage vows. My daughter asked me once, “Why does Mom always cry at weddings, when weddings are supposed to be happy events?” After thinking about it for a while, I told her that I was pretty sure Mistianna’s tears were tears of happiness; that a wedding to Mistianna equaled a lifetime of never-ending love and forgiveness. I explained to her that her Mom’s heart was deeply touched by the fact that when two people get married, they were saying to God and all their family and friends that they loved each other and would work together to experience the happy and the hard times, that life brought their way. That being married for a lifetime meant facing great joys and great disappointments as one unified force rooted in God.
Mistianna: I think weddings make me cry because when both the bride and the groom say their vows they are really pledging to be what I call being “the King” to one another for the rest of their lives! Being “the King” at our house means completely and totally forgiving someone for the wrong they have done to you, just as Jesus forgives each of us for our sins. The term “be the King” comes from a story in scripture and is found in Matthew 18:21-34. It’s all about offering forgiveness to someone who wronged another. It’s also about being the bigger person in a relationship, because you respond in love to the other person, instead of responding the way society teaches us to act, which is to be ugly and unforgiving when someone has committed a sin against us.
Derrick: What Mistianna means is that by responding in love or by being “the King” you able to offer forgiveness to others for the wrongs they have done to you. In Matthew 18, we learn about a King who bestows forgiveness on a servant and his family by not selling them to cover the debt they owe him. Since, the king is a kind man, he forgives the debt and sends the servant on his way. Not long after that, the forgiven servant has a fellow servant thrown in jail because he was not able to pay the debt he owed him. This action was witnessed by others in the kingdom, and did not sit well with the other servants. Especially, since compassion was shown to the first servant by the King, but the first servant did not show that same compassion to the second servant.
Mistianna: What happens next is incredible and very eye opening…eventually, the situation is brought to the king who is outraged at the first servant’s lack of kindness and forgiveness towards his fellow man. The king, has the first servant brought to him, has his debt reinstated and then has him thrown in jail for not showing the second servant compassion, kindness and most of all, forgiveness. The moral of the story, and why I truly cry at weddings is that when two people marry and become one, forming a covenant for the entirety of their life, they must continually “Be the King” to one another in all aspects of their married life.
Derrick: Do you get why being, “the king” to your spouse each and every day is so important? As a married couple, you are going to experience great times together, but you will also face trials and tragedies together as well. You’ll get annoyed with one another over dishes that aren’t put in the dishwasher, clothes and shoes that are left all over the house and hair dryers and toiletries that aren’t yours, that find their way to your side of the bathroom. And, you’ll get really mad at the person you love and cherish the most when they blow the family budget or spend to much on Christmas gifts or let the kids get away with something your very much opposed too; and you’ll go to bed next to that person you love sometimes furious with them, but as the person charged with helping your beloved get to Heaven, you’ll eventually forgive that person who made you really mad and really angry. So, I challenge each of you to not only, “Be The King” to your beloved, but to “Be the King” to others in your life that wrong you as well.
Mistianna: If we each respond in love to those we love and cherish, to those that truly annoy and aggravate us, to those on the fringes and margins of society that we encounter daily and to pretty much anyone we interact with in our daily lives, we will be setting an example of everyday forgiveness and true Christian discipleship for others in our lives.
Derrick: And, isn’t that what love and marriage are really all about? Helping those we love to become more holy and more like Christ.
Deacon Derrick Barnes and his wife Mistianna were married in 1995 and were college sweethearts. They have one daughter, Kailee, who is in college at UK, and two fur babies Elvis and Presley Anne. They have been involved in a variety of Marriage Prep Programs in the Archdioese of Louisville for more than 18 years, as a sponsor couple, speakers at Foundations of Marriage and presenters for the Engaged Encounter.
In, 2012, Derrick was ordained a deacon and is assigned to Saint Margaret Mary Parish in Louisville, KY where he and Mistianna are parishioners and founders of SMM’s Marriage Ministry. Deacon Derrick and Mistianna are passionate about the Sacrament of Marriage and feel called to help others have happy and holy marriages. They are currently on the Leadership Team for the Louisville Engaged Encounter and speak and conduct workshops on a variety of marriage prep and marriage topics across the Archdioese of Louisville.