How Rick Warren's 'Purpose Driven Life' Changed Former Hostage Ashley Smith (VIDEO)

02/25/2013 12:01 pm ET

In 2005, a man named Brian Nichols -- on trial for rape -- escaped an Atlanta courthouse and, after murdering four people, forced his way into single mother Ashley Smith's home and held her hostage for seven hours. Ashley defused the situation by reading Pastor Rick Warren's best-selling book "The Purpose Driven Life" to Nichols, and the wanted man eventually surrendered to police. (He's now serving multiple life sentences without parole.) In this clip from a recent episode of "Oprah's Lifeclass," Smith talks about how Warren's book changed her life.

"At that time in my life, it was really down in the dumps and that was really a life-changing experience for me because truly, of all the people that had a role in that day, of all the people that could have lost their lives, I was the one that probably should have," she says. "And instead of me losing my life -- here I was the lonely, widowed, drug-addict mom who deserved death -- but God gave me a brand new life, one that I could never, ever imagine, as a result of just giving my life to Him. And through that, I've tried to do better since then."

Tune in to "Oprah's Lifeclass" on OWN Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET.

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