A Florida church has been forced to change the sign on their front lawn after a keen-eyed passer-by spotted that the words could be somewhat misinterpreted.

The sign outside the Bella Vista Baptist Church in Edgewater, around 40 miles northeast of Orlando, has been changed after one resident realised the mishap.

The words "forgiveness is swallowing when you want to spit" were written on the white board on Friday (3 November).

A woman posted the sign on Facebook, saying she had to do a U-turn to come back and take a photo of the sign.

Many people tagged laughing emojis while one person commented: "Don't think they thought this through."

Others wrote: "I can't believe it"

In wake of the discovery representatives from the church say the sign was "completely innocent" and was "intended as encouragement to forgive," according to the ABC-affiliated Local 10 News.

The church said to Click Orlando that they will remove the forgiveness message after the controversy. "We apologise if anyone was offended," officials from the church said.