Jesus is pretty careful throughout his public ministry to let everyone know that one of the most important qualities for his followers is mercy. In fact with all the wonderful imagery and instruction in the Lord's Prayer in Matthew, Jesus only comments on the fact that if we cannot forgive our Father in heaven will not forgive us.
It used to be very hard for me to ask for forgiveness. I don't mean saying, "oh my bad" or "I’m so sorry" but really asking for forgiveness for things I had done or failed to do.
Then I went through a period where some people in my life hurt me very deeply, and I realized just how much pain unforgiveness causes. I have to forgive those who have hurt me, not because they deserve it, but because Jesus asks it of me. Carrying around pain and hurt from a slight or an overt act of betrayal doesn't hurt the person who did it to me, but it does hurt me.
It was during this time of forgiving those who hurt me that the Lord allowed me to see some of the people I had hurt with an offhand remark or a disloyal sharing of their secrets. I was in such pain thinking I had caused others to feel just as bad as I had felt in their place. That was when I realized that I needed to ask for forgiveness.
I am not saying I had to go up and say I am sorry. I had to go to these people and say I need to ask for forgiveness, so that I can make right what I caused to be wrong between us. It isn't easy to do this, but things of value are rarely easy.
I tell you what; this being perfected is hard work. But some day, I will be a mirror image of He who lives in me. Like Blessed Mother Teresa, I will be exactly what God had planned when he created me.