There is a CATCH-22 that can trip you up at the local Kingdom Hall.
If you receive "counsel" from an Elder about any behavior at all and you "resist" or question the counsel you can be accused of having a "spirit of rebellion".
So, you have to either shut up and comply (with even the most ludicrous and ill-founded suggestions) or answer back and be chastised and "marked".
Is there a better way?
I have a few suggestions that might help.
1.Smile and thank the brother for bringing the matter to your attention. Look them right in the eye.
2.Ask if you can sit down privately later somewhere and have a more in-depth casual chat about the details.
3.Begin the "chat" by mentioning that you were surprised that your behavior had offended the brother.
"I always have thought of you as very strong in the Truth, so; you can imagine my surprise that (insert complaint behavior) stumbled you! It was very kind of you to bring it to my attention before real harm was done."
4.(The brother will sputter and defend themselves because their ego is now the issue. They are on the defense and you aren't.) Reply with kindness.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't choose my words very carefully. I didn't want to put you on the defensive. I mean, you can't help what offends you--your conscience is probably alot more tender and sensitive from your years of service."
5.Now, watch their expression and eyes when you say: "I truly want to express my gratitude that you followed the bible's admonition to counsel me first privately before discussing this with anybody else. You DIDN'T discuss it with anybody else first----DID YOU?"
6. (Say the next sentence with firm but gentle authority)
"Worldly people wrongly criticize Jehovah's people by saying we aren't allowed to have a personal opinion or free expression without being shut down or silenced in the congregation. Yet, here we are having a free exchange of ideas!"
7. "Wouldn't you agree that if a behavior or personal means of self-expression isn't specifically identified in the Bible-it is really a matter of personal conscience?"
The brother or elder will use the line about "offending a weaker one's conscience and stumbling"
8. "Well, as you've said earlier--you certainly are NOT a weaker brother--so NO HARM DONE--right?"
The brother or elder will mention "others" who "might" be stumbled.
9.Smile and give a robust laugh while slapping him on the back as you say:
"I know what you mean,Just about anybody could be potentially offended by anything--now couldn't they?"
10. (Whatever reply the elder gives next, follow with) "I'm sure you will agree with me, Brother X, none of us wants to live in the same SPIRIT OF FEAR that the churches of Christendom have. In Jehovah's organization we have a SPIRIT OF FREEDOM because Christ Jesus FREED US from the fear of man. Allowing the fear of weaker people to control us and restrain us would be to plunge back into the darkness."
"Like the scripture says, Those whom the Son has set free are FREE INDEED!"
Conclude by saying:
I'm so very glad we had this conversation.
"You know, a weaker brother might have simply tried to bully me by trying to use their personal preference as a wedge under the authority of being an Elder in the congregation. But, you Brother X, are too mature and loving a brother to ever pull that crap! Thanks so much for your help. I feel much better now---don't you?"