According to William Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice, mercy drops down like “gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath: it is twice blessed; it blesseth him that gives and him that takes.”

Shakespeare was right about the double blessing that mercy provides. Our merciful deeds bless the person to whom we stretch out a hand of loving-kindness. Not only that, we ourselves benefit when we act mercifully. We experience our Lord’s promise: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Mt. 5:7).

But Shakespeare missed the third recipient of blessing—God! When in our Savior’s name we practice Christlike caring, God is praised. He is honored when we show mercy.

As amazing as that may be, it is biblical truth. God is not without emotion. What we do or fail to do affects Him. Our actions either bring Him pleasure or grieve Him deeply. God delights in our adoring recognition of His goodness, and He is saddened when we serve our own selfish interests (Prov. 11:20; Heb. 13:15-16).

The blessings of Christlike mercy flow not only from the giver to the receiver and back again, but to the very heart of God. Acts of mercy are acts of praise.