The truth is that when you ask forgiveness you hope that the dire consequences of what you have done will be wiped away. But that is possible only if the causes of the error you have committed have themselves disappeared. If you have made a mistake through ignorance, the ignorance must disappear. If you have made a mistake through bad will, the bad will must disappear and be replaced by goodwill. Mere regret will not do, it must be accompanied by a step forward.
Ref: On Thoughts and Aphorisms