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.
For the universe is constantly evolving; nothing is at a standstill. Everything is perpetually changing, moving forward or backward. Things or acts that set us back seem bad to us, and cause confusion and disorder. The only remedy for them is a radical forward movement, a progress. This new orientation alone can annul the consequences of the backward movement.
Therefore it is not a vague and abstract forgiveness that one should ask of the Divine, but the power to make the necessary progress. For only an inner transformation can wipe out the consequences of the act.
Ref: On Thoughts and Aphorisms